On 14 May, the herds will gather at the Lusaka Showgrounds to celebrate wildlife conservation in Zambia. After the success of last year’s first EleFest, the 2016 festival line-up has expanded with exciting new international acts, including Mokoomba, an acclaimed Zimbabwean Afropop band currently touring the US. Mokoomba will share the stage with several household names of Zambian afro-jazz and soul who are trumpeting their support for the conservation of Zambia’s wildlife including Maureen Lilanda, James Sakala and the Elect Band, Wezi, MumbaYachi and KapiriMposhi 4.0.
These ele-gends of the Zambian music scene are currently working on a surprise collaboration about our wonderful wildlife. All epic talents in their own right, never before have they sung together and all the more reason for this important cause of highlighting conservation in Zambia. A video will be shot on location in Zambia’s breathtaking wilderness of the collaborators performing their inspiring song together. Watch out for this spine-tingler live on stage at the EleFest!
As well as music, EleFest will host entertaining and informative installations about wildlife wonders and the work being done to protect it. Festival goers can bring the kids along to the “Where the Wild Things Are” corner as well as sample the local food and drink!
The Elephant population of Zambia is one of the most significant in Africa but their numbers are declining rapidly. Experts have reported that 100 elephants are being killed every day in Africa. Elephants are killed for their ivory tusks, which are used for ornaments and medicine mostly in Asia. It is illegal to be involved in elephant poaching or ivory trafficking in Zambia. If they are found guilty, elephant poachers can go to prison,for 5 to 20 years.
As well as elephants, Zambia is also home to the most trafficked animal on the planet: the pangolin. It is illegal to capture or sell these animals and people found guilty of this offence can go to jail for 5 years. Our pangolin population is at threat. If you see anyone selling a pangolin, you should report it immediately to Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW).
It’s not just ivory and other trafficking but also the illegal bush meat trade which threatens both pangolins and elephants as well as almost all other Zambian animals. Eating meat from wild animals killed illegally has been reported as the the primary cause of decline of wild animals across Africa. Bush meat is harvested mainly by the use of wire snares. Every day, poachers may use thousands of such snares across Zambia. It is estimated that almost 90% of animals caught in snares are not collected by poachers, but left to rot. Bush meat poaching is the least efficient use of any wildlife resource. The bush meat trade is in no way sustainable and highly destructive of Zambia’s wildlife. As well as damaging to the environment, eating bush meat can also be very harmful to your health. Epidemiologists strongly suspect that infectious diseases such as Ebola and HIV jumped to human populations through the hunting and eating of bush meat. Illegal bush meat is often lumped together in unidentifiable bundles with consumers unaware of what animal they are eating and how hygienically the meat has been prepared and transported therefore risking dysentery and other zoonotic diseases.
In Zambia there are some legal game meat options from game farms but much of the meat that is available is illegal. Eating and trading in bush meat without a licence is illegal. If found guilty, you can go to prison for 7 years. Next time you see bush meat on sale or being served, think twice. Is it legal? You can ask to see the Department of National Parks and Wildlife or Wildlife Producers Association of Zambia licences that legal producers should have. Buy legal game meat only!
If you see any wildlife trafficking or suspect illegal bush meat trading or consumption you can report it immediately to the Department of National Parks and Wildlife’s (DNPW) Intelligence and Investigations Unit in Chilanga. DNPW have a good informer network. Join them to make a difference.
Zambia is home to a breathtaking diversity of rare wildlife and habitats. It is home to the world’s largest mammal migration (Straw Coloured Fruit Bats, Kasanka National Park), second largest wildebeest migration (Liuwa Plains National Park), one of the world’s most important African Wild Dog strongholds (Kafue National Park) and Lion strongholds (South Luangwa National Park).The tourism industry employs more than 80,000 people and contributes more than K9.2 billion to Zambia’s economy every year. There is a huge growth potential for this industry especially as it doesn’t rely directly on rain or copper prices.
Have you visited our National Parks in Zambia? They are on our doorstep, make a plan and check out the Zambia Tourism website www.zambiatourism.com
EleFest supporters WWF Zambia have been working to support Zambia’s wildlife for over 50 years. The Lusaka office is located at Longacres Roundabout. WWF Zambia is involved in several different conservation projects in Zambia. This work is done through partnerships with government institutions, conservation organisations, private companies and many other partnerships.
The Department of National Parks and Wildlife under the Ministry of Tourism and Arts (previously known as ZAWA) carries out conservation efforts in Zambia with the support of many organisations including WWF Zambia. At the beginning of 2016, ZAWA moved back into GRZ under the Ministry of Tourism and Arts as a result of the Government’s dedication to conservation.
EleFest 2016 is supported primarily by WWF Zambia and Game Rangers International as well as many other organisations and people including Mojo, Benson Sound, A Jackson Design, Ad-dicts, Events Hire, Tanuger Travels, The Art Shop Limited and ProSigns Zambia.
To find out more join the EleFest 2016 event on facebook, twitter and instagram.