By Staff Writer
Minister of Tourism, Rodney Sikumba with Members of Parliament yesterday held a meeting aimed at finding an amicable solution to challenges of human-animal conflict that has affected the country in the recent past.
Mr Sikumba said it is important for parliamentarians and Government to have dialogue over issues of human animal conflict.
Speaking when he met the members of Parliamentary Caucus on Wildlife Conservation, the Mr Sikumba said instead of just tabling the matters before the floor of the House, a roundtable discussion is necessary for various stakeholders to appreciate the problems obtaining on the ground.
“We discussed that when we sit in the next five days or so, each and every one of you in the caucus will have to be honorary wildlife police officers. That we will expedite and we want you to be getting into the park at any given time to check on what is happening, because parliamentarians need to be involved more in resolving the issues collectively.” he said.
Mr Sikumba also said that the country only has 1,575 wildlife police officers across the country.
He however said there is still a deficit of 4,800 wildlife police officers.
The Minister also bemoaned illegal activities in Game Management Areas like mining which he said exacerbates the human-animal conflict.
And,Feira Member of Parliament, Emmanuel Tembo who also complained of an influx of elephants in his constituency accused wildlife police officers of acting swiftly when a person is found erring, a case which he said is not the same when people are under attack from animals.
Bweengwa Member of Parliament, Kasautu Michelo complained of mining activities in Lochinver National Park saying the sound of machinery chases away animals.
“There is a company which is mining gypsum in my area and it’s like most of the animals have run away because of the noise. Our wildlife is being threatened,” he said.