President: Zim to donate elephants, lions to Angola

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By Matabeleland North Correspondent

President Mnangagwa has said Zimbabwe is planning to donate different kinds of animals to Angola to help the Sadc country restore its wildlife which was almost decimated by the civil war.

This is despite a ban in trade in wildlife products imposed by the Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites) nine years ago.

The ban has left Zimbabwe sitting on US$600 million worth of ivory which it cannt sell.

With an elephant population of 84 000 elephants against a carrying capacity of 54 000, President Mnangagwa said Zimbabwe is willing to cull its elephant and other wildlife as part of its conservation strategies.

“Zimbabwe has an excess of 30 000 elephants without mentioning other species like lions. We are willing to donate or sell some of these to our sister countries so that they grow their animal populations,” Mnangagwa told journalists in Victoria Falls on Tuesday.

The President said Angola’s wildlife migrated because of war and landmines that were still affecting the country.

“Angola, because of war, has a lot of landmines and most of its wild animals moved south. So we are now cooperating with Angola to raise funds to demine and we will give them elephants, giraffes, lions which I believe is humane,” said Mnangagwa.

He reiterated the call to push Cites to lift the ban saying all Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA TFCA) and Sadc countries were in agreement.

Mnangagwa said the region will lobby with one voice at the upcoming COP18 summit in Geneva, Switzerland in August.

He said trade in ivory will be sustainable as long as the country still has wildlife.

The President also said the country will maintain a zero tolerance to poaching which he said was however a result of human-wildlife conflict.

There has been rampant poaching in most game parks while communities adjacent to game parks have complained about losing their livestock, human life and property to wildlife.

They have implored government to compensate them.

The AU-UN Wildlife summit sought to discuss how communities can benefit and the common feeling was that there should be active participation of people living near game parks in conservation management.