EASTERN Province minister Makebi Zulu says sometimes poaching persist when the community does not feel the benefit of owning wildlife resources.
Officiating at the Walk Luangwa 2020 in Mambwe District on Wednesday, Zulu, who is also Malambo member ofparliament, said people now see the benefits that they were getting from tourism.
“We must be responsible enough to take care of our resources in such a way that our children do not only see what we are seeing today from pictures or videos but they should be able to benefit from that (wildlife) resource. Time and again we’ve had anti-poaching operations that have been ongoing and most of the times we have seen poaching continuing because the communities have not felt the benefits of owning this resource. They have not felt as though they own the resource,” he said.
Zulu said he was glad that things were changing and people now see the benefits of wildlife.
“The communities are able to see the benefits of the resources that are there because you ladies and gentleman (stakeholders in the tourism sector) gathered here have not sat back, you have engaged the communities, you have built schools, you have sunk boreholes, you have sponsored children in schools, you have bought books for them and they have seen the benefits that they are getting from tourism. Such must be applauded by all well meaning people and we thank you for that well meaning contribution,” he said.
Zulu said government was looking at ways of mitigating the effects of COVID-19.
“For the first time government has decided to buy about a million tonnes of maize for relief purposes throughout the country and we’ve increased the allocation to places such as Mambwe that are in a Game Management Area because we know that if we do not do this we’ll force out people to go and poach, hence that particular intervention. In terms of the beneficiaries of the social cash transfer, we’ve about 5,600 beneficiaries but government has increased by about 748 beneficiaries which we know is not enough but it will help cushion the effects of COVID-19 and prevent people from crossing into the park,” he said.
Zulu said the government was also promoting aquaculture.
He said that through Citizens Economic Empowerment Commission, government was providing loans to youths.
Walk Luangwa 2020 is aimed at raising funds for communities, wildlife and conservation groups in the Luangwa Valley.
The funds which were raised from the walk would also go towards alleviating the significant negative impacts of COVID-19.
Organiser of the walk Nick Riddin said he was happy with the general response from the people.
Riddin said the walk started about 17 days ago from North Luangwa to South Luangwa, covering a distance of 350 kilometres.
He appealed to the local people to also back such initiatives that were aimed at promoting the whole eco-system.
The provincial minister, Mambwe district commissioner Caroline Mwanza, Mambwe council chairperson Maison Phiri and other delegates took part in the last stage of the walk which covered a distance of about 5 kilometres in the South Luangwa National park.