The Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) wishes to clear the atmosphere created by Mushingashi Game Ranch Management that thirty (30) elephants have been lost over the past six (6) months without the authority’s support, according to a statement distributed to media.
We are fully aware of the scourge of elephant poaching which has hit the continent and Zambia is not been spared and therefore, we take such reports seriously. It is expected that any elephant poaching incident on game ranches be reported to ZAWA immediately so that efforts are reinforced to prevent further carnage.
The game ranch is located about 30 km from our Mumbwa office and has radio (hf/vhf), email, phone connectivity and vehicles.
ZAWA also has base camp, belonging to honorary wildlife police officer member and other game ranches that have game scouts in the vicinity. Mushingashi itself claims to have fourty or more game scouts armed and equipped with radio communication
How therefore, can an area that has such facilities claim to have lost so many elephants without reporting directly to ZAWA or seek help from neighbours?
Mushingashi management to locate the carcasses whilst fresh and took pictures and videos and circulated them to others and the media except ZAWA. This is despite having a valid memorandum of understanding that defines areas of cooperation.
Through our investigations as ZAWA, we understand the sinister motive being orchestrated by Mushingashi management that is bordering on embarrassing government and seek for funding for its operations from well-wishers and non-governmental organisations to lower its costs.
ZAWA would like to remind them to wind up their business properly without bringing the name of government into disrepute if they have failed to manage the area.
Zambia is a signatory to international conventions and does everything possible within its capacity to fulfill, of course working with willing stakeholders. Those who are not ready will be shown the door. It is up to Mushingashi to own up and not blame ZAWA for its shortcomings.
It has obligations and failure to fulfill would lead to serious sanctions that would include cancellation of the game ranch permit.
ZAWA has a mandate to manage wildlife. It carries out this mandate by working with other stakeholders, which include the communities living in game management areas (GMAs) and the private sector.