By ANDREW MUKOMA
THE Ministry of Tourism should consider embarking on a process of re-stocking national parks with some of the endangered animals whose population has reduced due to continued poaching, Green Land Conservation Foundation (GLCF), has said.
GLCF Executive Director, Armstrong Muyakwabo, said they feel that animals such as the big five and the white rhinos are some of the species which are key in marketing the country’s tourism sector. Mr Muyakwabo said, the country’s tourism development should be anchored on conserving animal speices that foreign tourists wish to see in the country hence re-stocking the national parks with such animals.
He said in a statement that this will boost the country’s tourism potential. “We have noted that Zambia has a comparative advantage over neighbouring countries in terms of tourism activities ranging from the Victoria Falls viewing, bungee jumping, water rafting and game viewing which is why we are calling for more animal protection and re-stocking for it to thrive,” Mr Muyakwabo said.
“It is for this reason, the country through the Ministry of Tourism should try to ensure that tourists are given full packages which will make their stay in the country longer rather than having situations where tourists just come to view the Victoria Falls for a few hours and fly back to the country where they booked their holiday,” he said. He observed that protecting animal specis for the purpose of tourism has a potential of making Zambia a preferred tourist destination by international tourists visiting the SADC region.
Mr Muyakwabo said that this will provide tourists with a variety of tourism activities in one place (country) as opposed to them travelling to from one country to another which might prove to be an extra cost on the tourist’s part. He stated that for this tourism potential to be actualised, Government should invest more in the recruitment of wildlife wardens so that animals in the parks are well protected for purposes of tourism development.
Mr Muyakwabo has also urged international stakeholders interested in animal conservation to help Government in re-stocking animal species (big five and white rhino) which are depleting due to game poaching. GLCF is a Zambian registered non-profit making organisation with an interest in climate change, animal conservation and environmental protection advocacy.