By NCHIMUNYA MIYOBA
Care for Nature Zambia has called for strengthened implementation of Convention of Trade in Endangered Species (CTIES) by the Ministry of Tourism to reduce illegal wildlife trade of endangered species and flora.
Care for Nature Zambia Executive Director Nsama Kearns said the Ministry of Tourism should work towards curbing the vice as wildlife crimes in Zambia have been on the increase due to the well-organized nature of criminal networks that have strong links across Africa and other Continents.
Ms Kearns said wildlife criminals have formed powerful cartels that have put most of the country’s valuable species at risk of depletion.
She said that such cartels recruit community members living near protected areas to poach wildlife for their horns and meat and in other cases capture live animals for export.
“Zambia being a landlocked country and at the center of several Southern African countries makes it a hot spot for transiting illegal fauna and flora, which is why it is very important for the Ministry of Tourism to strengthen the implementation of CITES as a measure to prevent illegal wildlife products coming from other countries to pass through Zambia.
Ms Kearns implored the Ministry of Tourism to audit stock of the current wildlife in the country and also see how wildlife has been managed in the past few years.
She said it is the responsibility of the country to protect both local and neighboring countries wildlife.
Ms Kearns said that unless wildlife crimes are given the attention they deserve, Zambia will continue losing its wildlife species at a fast rate.
She said the wildlife prevention unit should use cases such as the one where Abalone a shell fish suspected to have come from South Africa some years back was transited through Zambia as dry fish.