By GIDEON NYENDWA
ILLEGAL gold mining has increased in the Lower Zambezi National Park and its adjacent game management areas, Conservation Lower Zambezi (CLZ) has disclosed.
Conservation Lower Zambia data management officer, Rodgers Fumpa, said illegal mining activities had increased from 10 percent last year to 75 percent this year.
“Poaching has gone down, but there has been an increase in illegal gold mining activities coming into the Lower Zambezi National Park and its adjacent game management areas,” he said.
Mr Fumpa said there were reports of serious illegal mining activities in the game management areas.
He said an investigation has been instituted to determine whether the people involved in the illegal mining were locals or foreigners.
Mr Fumpa said the illegal mining disturbs the eco system because some trees get cut by the miners.
He said the illegal miners were also killing animals because they had nothing to eat, resulting in loss of valuable species in the game park.
Mr Fumpa said the Department of National Parks and Wildlife and other stakeholders were trying to address illegal mining in the area.
“We are trying to engage chiefs to educate their subjects through CLZ and other organisations that support wildlife conservation,” he said.
And Conversation Lower Zambezi fundraising and public relations officer, Stella Snowden, said if this is not stopped, more mining activities will mushroom in the area.
She said mining activities were disastrous to conservation.
Ms Snowden said there was no place for mining activities in the national park because it would ruin everything.
“We are not anti-mining but the national park is for tourism and wildlife,” she said.
Ms Snowden said if mining activities were allowed in the area, it would scare away wildlife.
She said authorities engaged the previous government on the issue and they would now engage the new administration so the trend is stopped.