Sunday, 30 November 2014
Saturday, 29 November 2014
The group says that they first highlighted this issue when they encountered an Australian and Zimbabwean looking to earmark elephants in Hwange for Chinese zoos.
Now they claim that tourists are witnessing blatant live captures of baby elephants. They are then taken to Mtshibi Capture Unit about 7 kilometres from Hwange’s Main Camp.
“So far 34 baby elephants between the ages of 2 ½ and 5 years old, 7 lions and about 10 sable antelope have been rounded up for shipping but investigators were not allowed to get close enough to the compound to photograph as security there has become extremely tight,” the group claims in a media statement.
These are then trucked to Maputo in Mozambique, where they begin their arduous trip to China.
In 2013 three young elephants were shipped to China, only to be exposed to freezing weather conditions and confinement resulting in the death of one, and the other two getting sick.
China and the ivory trade
Last year poachers in Hwange National Park started poisoning water holes with cyanide in order to kill elephants for their tusks.
According to a report in December, more than 300 elephants fell victim to this.
The Environmental Investigation Agency issued a report earlier this month that found when Chinese government and business delegations arrived in China prices on the local ivory market doubled to $700 (or R7,727) a kilo during their visit.
“The [delegation]… used the opportunity to procure such a large amount of ivory that local prices increased,” the report says according to the BBC. “When your president [Xi Jinping] was here… many kilos go out… many kilos. Half of his plane go with that,” one of the traders told EIA investigators.
Source: Zimbabwe’s baby elephants getting sold to China zoos Nehanda Radio Online (28/11/14)
Friday, 28 November 2014
Source: Tourism chief mulls night tours at Vic Falls (26 Nov 2014)
Monday, 24 November 2014
Saturday, 15 November 2014
Green party’s presidential candidate Peter Sinkamba is promising voters to cut country’s dependency on mining – by growing and exporting marijuana
For decades, Zambia has staked its economic fortunes on copper mining. But when voters in this southern African nation go to the polls in January to select a new president, at least one candidate will be looking to send that tradition up in smoke.
On Friday, Peter Sinkamba will announce his candidacy on the Green party ticket to replace the late President Michael Sata, who died on 29 October from an undisclosed illness. Sinkamba, regarded as Zambia’s leading environmentalist for his battles against the country’s big copper mines, is running on an unlikely platform, especially in this socially conservative nation: legalising marijuana.
His plan, first announced in April, calls for cannabis’ legalisation for medicinal use in Zambia, which would be a first in Africa. The surplus crop would be exported abroad, earning Zambia what Sinkamba claims could be billions of dollars.
At stake is an opportunity to diversify Zambia’s economy while beginning to clean up the environmental degradation left by close to a century of intensive opencast mining.
Copper has long been Zambia’s national treasure, having fired the country to middle-income status in the 1960s and 70s. But by the late 1990s, tumbling copper prices sent the country’s mining income to its lowest levels since independence from the UK in 1964.
Mining has since rebounded. In 2012, copper exports amounted to $6.3bn (£4bn), or nearly 70% of Zambia’s total export market. But many Zambians now find their country’s dependency on copper stifling. Local communities suffer from environmental impacts like toxic sulphur dioxide emissions from refineries.
In an interview with the Guardian in his hometown of Kitwe, the Copperbelt’s largest city, Sinkamba said his marijuana proposal would wean Zambia off its addiction to mining by prioritising its fledgling agricultural sector.
“Historically, we’ve been the kind of people that have consumed a lot of marijuana,” said Sinkamba. “It is massively cultivated across the whole country [for the black market] … So what we’re saying is, look, let’s come out of it and legalise it.”
Sinkamba reckons that Zambia could capture up to 10% of a global marijuana market – estimated at $140bn by the UN in 2005 – which would make it more lucrative than copper mining. In a shadow budget released earlier this year, the Green party claimed marijuana exports would boost GDP by over 68% by 2021.
Experts on the international drug trade, however, caution that Sinkamba’s scheme might be half-baked. According to John Collins, an international drug policy researcher at the London School of Economics, the export of marijuana for recreational use would run afoul of the 1961 UN single convention on international narcotics control.
Nor would marijuana exports necessarily be all that profitable, added Jon Caulkins, a cannabis expert at Carnegie Mellon University, who pointed out that it would take less than 10,000 acres to grow all the THC (the main constituent in marijuana) consumed in the US. Zambia has about 87.4m arable acres.
However, Collins called Sinkamba’s plan “entirely doable” if he can take advantage of loopholes that exist in international drug law for medicinal drugs. Israel, for example, last year considered a plan to export medicinal marijuana to the Czech Republic, but shied away out of concern that becoming an international drug dealer would look bad politically.
“I think the key for Zambia is that they may view the economic returns from the industry as outweighing political concerns which would limit countries like Israel going too far down this route at the moment,” he said.
In any case, Sinkamba is a dark horse in the election. But he insists that his proposal has struck a chord with a disillusioned, and very young, electorate.
On the streets of Kitwe, Sinkamba is greeted by young people with cries of “Legalise!” belted with the same vigour as anti-apartheid activists in South Africa once chanted “Amandla! [power].”
“When we look at the trends, the world is going in the direction of legalising marijuana,” said Sinkamba. “But we don’t want to be the last ones. We want to be the first ones.”
Source: Can Zambia save its environment with marijuana? The Guardian UK (14/11/14)
Tuesday, 11 November 2014
(with thanks to Ilala Lodge Facebook Page) Quoting Tourism Minister Walter Mzembi, the paper said the proposed UNIVISA is expected to benefit tourists from 40 countries.
“The UNIVISA project is being pursued by Zimbabwe and Zambia and it is being funded by the World Bank,” Mzembi is quoted as saying.
Under the new system, tourists would acquire visas at ports of entry for US$50 each.
The visas would be valid for 30 days and would allow holders to tour Zimbabwe and Zambia without restriction.
The arrangement is expected to be expanded to include Namibia, Botswana and Angola following a six-month pilot phase.
Presently, tourists have to secure separate visas to enable them to enter Zimbabwe and Zambia and are subjected to conventional immigration procedures.
Source: Zimbabwe, Zambia to launch UNIVISA project on November 28 (09/11/14)
Saturday, 8 November 2014
Supporters of Survival International, the global movement for tribal peoples’ rights, called for a boycott of Botswana tourism at the World Travel Market in London today, over the country’s relentless persecution of Africa’s last hunting Bushmen.
On today’s World Responsible Tourism Day, protestors handed leaflets to visitors to the leading travel industry event, where the Botswana Tourism Organisation is hosting a stall all week. Botswana actively promotes visits to the Bushmen’s ancestral land in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, while starving the tribespeople off their land by preventing them from hunting.
Earlier this year, the Botswana government imposed a nationwide ban on hunting without consulting the Bushmen. Now they are accused of “poaching” because they hunt their food. And they face arrest and beatings, torture and death, while fee-paying big-game hunters are encouraged to kill giraffes and zebras on private game ranches.
Bushman Roy Sesana said, “President Ian Khama and his brother Tshekedi decided to ban hunting without consulting us. It was a calculated move to starve us out of the Central Kalahari Game Reserve. They know that we are dependent on hunting and they decided to ban hunting in the reserve.”
And while Botswana’s President Ian Khama is praised by international conservation organizations, he has allowed fracking exploration and recently opened a diamond mine on Bushman land.
In a recent interview with The Guardian, President Khama revealed his disdain for the Bushmen. He said the Bushmen lived a “very extinct…very backward form of life,” and claimed they were responsible for “severe loss of wildlife” in the reserve.
There is no evidence that the Bushmen’s hunting methods are unsustainable. On the contrary, a study conducted between 1986 and 1996 found that numbers of some antelope species hunted by the Bushmen actually increased.
Over 8,000 people have pledged not to visit Botswana until the Bushmen are allowed to live freely on their land, and several tour companies have joined the boycott.
Survival’s Director Stephen Corry said today, “Tribal peoples are portrayed as backward and primitive simply because their communal ways are different. It’s a way of justifying the theft of their land and resources in the name of ‘progress’ and ‘civilization’. President Khama’s comments are nothing new – they reflect a level of prejudice and racism that was typical of the colonial era and which should have long since been consigned to the history books.”
Source: Survival calls for Botswana boycott - Survival International (05/11/14)
Thursday, 6 November 2014
The Zambia Tourism Board says it is seeking to boost domestic tourism after international tourist arrivals last year grew by 6.7 per cent. Tourist arrivals in Zambia for 2013 amounted to 914,576, with a profit estimated at US$300 million.
The tourism sector is playing a very significant role in the country’s economy, currently accounting for approximately four per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). As part of its strategy, ZTB wants domestic tourism to also grow.
It has since called on Zambians to be tourists in their own country and to experience what millions of international tourists are drawn to annually - the sheer beauty of their land, its rich culture and heritage, and the warmth and hospitality of their fellow citizens.
“We are encouraging Zambians, especially as part of the jubilee celebration, to reignite that sense of loving their Zambia. We can only be true ambassadors of our tourism if we know the place. You cannot sell what you don’t know,” ZTB public relations and media manager Caristo Chitamfya said in an interview during a tour of Paraise Game Farm by Ezekiel Private School.
“We don’t have a shortage of places to go to in this country. We want, as we start another 50 years, Zambians to start thinking seriously about taking their families to relax and experience the tourist attractions we have in the country.”
He said domestic tourism arrivals have been very low.
“We would like to double the figures. For certain places like the Victoria Falls, current statistics show that only about 40 per cent of the people who live in Livingstone have seen the Victoria Falls. So there we would like to ensure the percentage rises to 100 per cent,” Chitamfya said.
He said under the new Domestic Tourism Growth Strategy, ZTB had responded to some of the challenges that have contributed to low arrivals. “We have developed incentives in terms of packages that address the price issue,” Chitamfya said.
“When we did our research, there were challenges that were identified. One of them was the cost, but we have special packages offered by various tour operators. Secondly, people complained that some places are beyond reach, but we have this massive infrastructure development and this is one of the legacies that we remember president Michael Sata for. It is good for tourism because it makes connectivity easy. So there should be no excuse for Zambians not exploring their own country,” said Chitamfya.
Source: Zambians should explore their own country - The Post Zambia (02/11/14)