Written by Collings Kalivute:
The Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW) in Kasungu has identified poaching, encroachment, and increased cases of human-wildlife conflicts as major challenges to their wildlife conservation efforts.
Park Central Division Manager Ronald Moyo said this Wednesday during a training session of media practitioners in Kasungu district on wildlife conservation reporting.
Moyo emphasized the pivotal role journalists play in raising awareness and sensitizing the public about wildlife conservation.
During the training session, Moyo revealed plans for the construction of a lodge to boost the tourism sector and called on the media to contribute to enhancing marketing strategies for the park.
“The park has initiatives to boost tourism but poaching and encroachment hinder our mission. Journalists have a crucial role in tourism; hence, this meeting is to equip them with relevant information and strengthen our relationship,” said Moyo.
Field Operations Manager for the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), Gervazio Thamala, stressed the need of economically empowering communities around the park to address operational challenges.
Thamala mentioned initiatives such as promoting beekeeping, providing boreholes for domestic and small-scale irrigation, and finding markets for local produce.
According to Thamala, improving community livelihoods reduces the incentive for wildlife crimes driven by economic need.
“Some community members commit wildlife crimes due to low income. We need to improve their livelihoods so that they do not depend on resources from the park,” Thamala stated.
Kasungu District Information Officer (DIO) Wanangwa Tembo expresses the media’s commitment to supporting the park’s objectives.
IFAW has actively engaged in the Kasungu National Park region through its Combating Wildlife Crime project since 2017. The organization currently supports the construction of a 130-kilometer electric fence to mitigate human-wildlife conflicts.
This year, human-wildlife conflicts involving elephants have resulted in six fatalities and property losses.