1 February 2013

Zambia: Elephant Poaching in Bangweulu Reduces

POACHING of elephants in the Bangweulu Area Management Unit (BAMU) which was particularly high in 2011 has drastically reduced.

Muchinga Province Deputy Permanent Secretary Jewis Chabi said the Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) had registered increased arrests of poachers in Bangweulu Community Partnership Park, while confiscation of weapons had intensified, with carcasses of Lechwe decreasing last year.

The management area stretches from Samfya to Mpika.

Mr Chabi said in an interview yesterday that at least 132 black lechwe, 17 buffaloes, four elephants, and two warthogs were poached last year in game management areas of Chiundaponde, Nabwalya/Mukungule, Nabwalya/North Park, and Mpumba.

"In the wet season, lechwe are more vulnerable than in drier months.

Lechwe survival needs active and positive participation of our important partners who are the surrounding local communities," he said.

He said the Bangweulu Wetlands Area was heavily affected by poaching due to the closure of outlying camps such as Kabinga, Kaleya, Vibbeti and Chikuni Wildlife Camps.

Mr Chabi said poaching in Lavushi Manda National Park had continued to pose a serious threat to wildlife and that it was still widespread across the park.

"However, wildlife sightings showed positive anecdotal evidence of maintaining or increasing numbers.

"However, the continuing low numbers of medium antelope and larger roan was a concern for management," he said.

He said there were good signs for wildlife with patrols actively recording sightings and a low number of snares recovered recently.

BAMU last year also recorded poaching of bush pigs, reed buck, hippo and water buck, and ZAWA intensified patrols to curb the practice.

He appealed to communities in the province to guard against poaching of wildlife as it threatened the development of the tourism sector.

Meanwhile, Chinsali Deputy Mayor Shame Kapyanga said illegal poaching of kudu, antelope, zebra and buffaloes has continued in Lunda area of Muchinga Province.

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