Zambia: Poaching expected to increase due to CITES refusal to sell ivory stockpiles

Mark O’Donnell, chairman of the Zambian Tourism Council, stated that the refusal by CITES to allow Zambia to sell ivory may increase poaching.  The Zambian Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) which needs money to maintain its conservation programs is worried that without the ability to sell ivory as a source of revenue they will not be able to effectively regulate poaching. He stated, “This is all well and good but does not take into account the facts and does not address the needs of ZAWA to obtain revenue. ZAWA needs revenue to enable good conservation programs to be put into place so that wildlife management improves. With better management animal populations will increase and our ability to attract visitors to Zambia will improve,” O’Donnell said. “It is unfortunate that those countries that do not support Zambia are not offering alternatives to us. Where is the money going to come from to run better conservation programs? The refusal to allow Zambia to market her legal ivory may indeed lead to higher levels of poaching as there is simply a lack of resources.”

“ZAWA has an area of 250,000 square kilometers to manage. This is larger than many countries in Europe. ZAWA only has a limited number of personnel to do this. There is a lack of equipment, logistics and support to enable this to be done,” said O’Donnell. “I find it very frustrating that delegates to meetings such as CITES do not fully appreciate the problems associated with wildlife management and conservation in Zambia and chose to sit and pass judgement against Zambia without offering credible alternatives. I think this is a very shortsighted approach. Rather than just be negative towards Zambia’s proposals, it would have been far more useful to come forward with money and ideas that would have enabled us to do a better job in this area”

Zawa Rangers

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