By Absalom Shigwedha
The Ministry of Environment and Tourism says good collaboration between locals and wildlife rangers against poaching in Zambezi Region has led to a decline in the number of poaching incidents this year.
Colgar Sikopo, the director of Parks and Wildlife Management, said that illegal hunting is still a challenge for the Bwabwata National Park and other parks in the North-East but that the problem is being contained. He said this year only six poaching incidents have been reported. Last year, 78 elephants were poached. Sikopo said apart from having reduced poaching, 23 suspects were also arrested, while 106 tusks were confiscated. “Many of them (suspects) are locals, but there were also Zambians. What we will do is to increase the presence of our officials and will work together with local conservancies,” said Sikopo.
He said, apart from elephants, there were also kudu and antelopes illegally killed. Bollen Zingolo, the head ranger for the Bwabwata East National Park, said illegal fishing has also been recorded. “One mukoro was confiscated and two suspects were fined N$150 each,” said Zingolo. Meanwhile, Dr Ortwim Aschenborn, the veterinarian for the park said an ecological institute in the Bwabwata National Park to deal with, amongst others things, animal diseases, has to a certain extent been established, but it will take about three more years to be fully operational.