TOURISM minister Ronald Chitotela says illegal off take and trade in wildlife products remains high in Zambia.
Zambia and the US have signed the long-awaited memorandum of understanding (MoU) on Wildlife Management and Combating of Illegal Wildlife Trade.
After signing the MoU, Chitotela noted with concern that illegal offtake and trade of wildlife products remains high in Zambia.
He said it is the duty of his ministry entrusted with the management of precious wildlife resource to put an end to the scourge.
Chitotela said collective effort in responding to the challenge of poaching was needed given the scale and international character that poaching has assumed.
He said the ministry firmly believes that closer cooperation is needed in devising strategies, protocols, training, intelligence and resource interventions to combat poaching and other wildlife crimes.
Chitotela expressed happiness that the signing would go a long way in addressing the many challenges to Zambia’s wildlife protected areas, including encroachment, increased human-animal conflicts, high demand for game meat, and limited sustainable revenue sources from tourism.
“The war against poaching must be won at all costs and we are pleased that an opportunity will be availed to our operatives to have their capacity strengthened to be more efficient and effective to better manage wildlife protected areas and curb illegal wildlife trade,” said Chitotela. “The government of the Republic of Zambia under the leadership of His Excellency President Edgar Chagwa Lungu remains indebted to the Government of the United States of America for the tenacious support being rendered to this country in various sectors of the economy, including tourism.”
US charge-de-affair David Young said the MoU could not be signed at a better time than now when the world is in commemorating of the World Tourism Day that falls on 27th September each year.
“The US government has committed to support the Department of National Parks through training of wildlife police officers and other conservation efforts and pledged US $30,000 for conservation programmes over the next three years,” said Young.