TOURISM and Arts Minister Ronald Chitotela says government’s effort to grow wildlife-based tourism as a contributor to the economy is bearing fruit as seen by the support from the international community.
The Minister also appreciated the support of cooperating partners in wildlife conservation during his tenure.
He pointed out the willingness by the donor community to partner with the Ministry, through the Department of National Parks and Wildlife in stepping up conservation efforts as outstanding.
He cited the one year agreement with African Parks Network to support protection efforts on the Kafue Ecosystem, the €1.2 million by Frankfurt Zoological Society for protection of the North Luangwa Ecosystem and US$45 million in the memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the United States government for the management ivory stockpile as one of the examples.
“The MoU with the British government that brought 21 British Navy members to training Wildlife Police Officers at Chunga Training school in the Kafue National Park has improved the entire drill programme,” Mr. Chitotela stated.
He said partners like Peace Parks Foundation and Wildlife Fund for Nature have been all weather friends in the Ministry’s efforts to conserve and protect wildlife.
“My Ministry is determined to invest more in poaching programmes and training of wildlife police officers (WPOs),” the Minister added.
He thanked the Ministry of Finance for approving the treasury authority for the recruitment of 105 members of staff under his Ministry this year of which most slots would be dedicated to WPOs.
Mr. Chitotela said tourism in Africa is mainly wildlife-based and hence the need to have more foot soldiers to protect the resource.