Zambia Daily Mail
15 April 2013
Zambia has continued to experience the animal-human conflict at an alarming rate and hundreds of people continue being killed by wildlife. This conflict has largely been caused by human beings encroaching and settling in natural habitants of wildlife. The result has been many cases in which human beings are attacked by wildlife and many have lost their lives in these encounters or left permanently impaired.
Just last week, a rampaging elephant killed three people in Kazungula and sent villagers scampering for safety. It is very cardinal that the Zambia Wildlife Authority enhances educative campaigns for people in areas where human-animal conflict is likely to arise.
This is why we welcome the advice by the government that the 9,311 people who have encroached in the Kafue National Park game management area (GMA) should move out by July this year. Deputy Minister in the Office of the Vice-President Harry Kalaba has said Government will have no option but to remove these people from the protected areas of the national park. According to Mr Kalaba, about 9,311 people have settled illegally in the GMA over the past five years.
At a time when Zambia is making efforts to promote its tourism, people should not settle in habitants of wildlife because they will disturb nature and subsequently discouraging foreign visitors. It is these illegal settlers who are exacerbating the animal-human conflict in the area and causing people to die unnecessarily. These same people even resort to poaching and further diminish the population of wild animals when we have tourist who want to come and pay to view our wildlife.
It is therefore, important that the illegal settlers from Kalomo, Choma, Itezhi-tezhi and Namwala in the Southern Province leave Kafue National Park as advised by the government. A team of officers from the Office of Vice-President is currently in Mumbwa to sensitise people, who have already settled in the GMA, so that they voluntarily move out of the protected area. If the villagers do not move, this can only result in more human-animal conflicts which will see more people being killed by animals.
The law clearly bans people from staying in game management areas and people who fail to obey this should meet the wrath of the law. Tourism is Zambia’s third priority sector after mining and agriculture and people must respect wildlife sanctuaries if the sector has to flourish.
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