WILDLIFE bodies should carefully control the hunting quotas given to hunters to preserve the population of wild animals, Hwange’s Painted Dog Conservation Centre tour guide Shepherded Phiri has said.
A hunting quota refers to a number and specific type of animals that are supposed to be hunted legally in a certain area for a specific period of time.
Mr Phiri said there was need for wildlife bodies to control hunting quotas to safeguard animals such as wild dogs and lions which feed on other beasts.
He noted that the population for predators might decline when the population of animals they usually hunt, declines.?Mr Phiri was speaking in Hwange, Zimbabwe on Tuesday when a delegation of foreign tour operators and journalists visited the Painted Dog Conservation Centre.
Mr Phiri noted that wild dogs and lions usually eat Kudus and Impalas, hence any attempt to increase the hunting of those animals would negatively affect the population for predators.
“Nature always has a way of balancing itself and that is why animals are also part of the eco-system.
“Killing more Kudus and Impalas might affect the population for wild dogs as they might have no food to eat. We have to liaise with national parks not to give too many quotas in areas where there are a lot of predators,” Mr Phiri said.
He said tourists also wanted to view predators,hence it was important for wildlife bodies to conserve such animals.
Mr Phiri also condemned the practice by some poachers to use traps to catch wild animals.?He said traps usually end up killing animals such as wild dogs and lions, which they did not intend to kill.
“Poachers usually use specific wires to trap Impalas and other edible animals but the same traps sometimes end up killing other animals,” Mr Phiri said.
Hwange National Park, which is the largest national park in Zimbabwe equating to the size of Ireland and California, and boasts of a tremendous selection of wild life with more than 100 species of mammals and nearly 400 bird species.
The park’s elephant population is one of the largest in the world.