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Saturday, 27 March 2010

In defence of our jumbos..

Common sense advice from Sakabilo Kalembwe (Get Wild Zambia) to Minister Namugala, who is currently pursuing a senseless policy of culling the elephants. What Minister Namugala should focus on is getting financial support for the elephants within the policy of distribution. Seeking to kill elephants is not sensible when she cannot even count the jumbos at her disposal :

Having visited some of the parks and game management areas, we feel what needs to be sorted out is the distribution of our elephant and hence support the experts from CITES that turned down our government's request.

Research shows that our elephant population is barely over 30,000 compared to 100,000 in the 1970’s. Obviously the human population could have been quiet low then, meaning the human -wildlife conflict was less but the the human population growth has been rapid in the urban areas and not in the countryside where these animals are found. 30 to 40 years ago , the distribution of elephants was even throughout the nine provinces, while today their geographical distribution is from the south eastern parts of the Eastern province, through the south of Lusaka Province and to the southern parts of Southern and Western Provinces. There are some numbers that are found in central Zambia around the Kafue National Park and some parts north of Sesheke district.

The Zambian government could take the alternative route of redistribution instead of trying to convince the technocrats at CITES reduce the number and sell the ivory. They can also consider seeking finances from CITES and other donors to use in relocating the elephants to areas like the Liuwa which have very small numbers of the animals if they are still even there. We are however aware that some animals may not do very well in certain habitats but we also are that organisations like CITES, ZAWA do have experts who are able to carry out environmental and habitat assessment to ascertain the viability of projects like redistribution of of our elephant.

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