By Editor Barbara Crown
In Zambia, there is still no word on the reopening of those 19 prime hunting concessions that Tourism and Arts Minister Sylvia Masebo canceled the tenders for last year at this time. Shortly afterward she closed lion and leopard hunting too. She also fired five top officers at the Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA), accusing them of corruption and other misconduct in the reallocation process for safari areas. (See Article 3024
.) Now it is Masebo who is under investigation for corruption. Also, it seems the president has appointed an ineffective deputy minister and ZAWA is floundering. In the meantime, I've heard reports of increased poaching in the closed Game Management Areas, especially those close to human settlements.
That development supports the findings of a recent independent study on the status of Zambia's GMAs, national parks, and wildlife ranches that was commissioned by the Wildlife Producers Association. It was done without the involvement of ZAWA, whose directors I'm told tried to stop the study or influence its findings. The study results have not been released to the public yet, but I'm told initial findings show that GMAs are losing ground to human encroachment at a breath-taking rate.....