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Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Holistic approach imperative in addressing elephant conservation-President Mnangagwa

Story by Josephine Mugiyo, Diplomatic Correspondent

President Emmerson Mnangagwa says the Kavango Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area ( KAZA TFCA ) member states must take a holistic approach in the strategies proffered to address challenges in the conservation of elephants given the bulging populations and ever-increasing incidences of human-wildlife conflict.

The Head of State said this during his presentation at the KAZA Heads of State Summit held in Livingstone Zambia this Friday.

The summit was attended by leaders from the five countries, that converge in the Kavango and Zambezi basins namely Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe was mainly focused on the issue of a ballooning elephant herd which has resulted in increased human-wildlife conflict.

Botswana has the largest herd among the five countries with Zimbabwe ranking second with close to 100 000 elephants, but due to the CITES ban on the ivory trade, the KAZA member states are not able to sell their ivory which continues to accumulate and are also prohibited from culling the elephants.

President Mnangagwa said it is regrettable and disheartening that those who oppose the region’s conservation philosophy have themselves failed to manage their wildlife populations, some to the point of extinction.

The Head of State said there is a need for the region to speak with a common voice at the CITES twentieth conference of parties (COP 20) in 2025 and defend its policies and values on wildlife conservation.

President Mnangagwa also highlighted the importance of addressing other challenges surrounding conservation in the region as he pointed out the far-reaching consequences of the El-Nino-induced drought on the socio-economic landscape of the region.

The host country’s President, Dr Hakainde Hichilema echoed President Mnangagwa’s sentiments on the need to work as a unit on conservation issues and improving livelihoods of the communities in conservation areas.

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