12 August 2005

Zimbabwe: Nigeria Praises Zimbabwe's Wildlife Management

Harare — Zimbabwe is among the best countries in Africa in the management of wildlife and conservation of natural resources, a visiting Nigerian official has said.

Nigerian secretary for Housing and Environment for the Bauchi State, Engineer Zubairu Yakubu said it is for this reason that his team had come to study conservation efforts in Zimbabwe.

"Our short stay in Zimbabwe has awarded us tremendous exposure to the issues at stake in the industry back home. We have learnt a lot that we need to implement in our country especially in the area of wildlife management. We admire the role stakeholders are playing in all of Zimbabwe's protected areas and the coherence in the partnership with the Government in achieving these goals," Eng Yakubu said.

He said unlike his country, where they are in the early stages of empowering local communities to take a leading role in managing natural resources, Zimbabwe is well advanced in community-based-programmes meant to reduce poverty in areas that are animal rich. Eng Yakubu said Zimbabwe's Campfire projects and eco-tourism programmes in Manicaland and Masvingo are worth emulating for implementation in Nigeria as they are a great source of income for many rural families.

"It was interesting to note that the country's parks authority and Government take the business of conservation seriously. This is seen by the extensive upgrading of the country's parks, the attractive and yet in natural state of tourists destinations like Matobo Hills and Victoria Falls and the massive training programmes to make working in various parks a rewarding profession."

Eng Yakubu said in some countries in Africa, information on natural resources management was not readily available owing to lack of interest.

"In Zimbabwe, information was vast particularly in areas of our interest that included control of African elephant ivory trade, wildlife conservation and sustainability and the transformation of the parks authority from a Government department to a parastatal."

He said his team was also keen to investigate other areas that Zimbabwe can explore to help boost its foreign currency revenue.

He said Zimbabwe's stance to bestow its riches in the hands of the indigenous people in the areas of game farming and mining is commendable though there is need to regularly monitor work on the ground to ensure there is adherence to the country's laws to maximise benefits.

The 23-member delegation was in the country on a seven-day study tour following their first familiarisation visit last month.

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