THE Government has said the arrival of the last batch of five black rhinos will help Zambia reclaim its rewarding tourism destination position in the southern Africa and make significant socio-economic contribution to the country.
Tourism, Environment and Natural Resources Deputy Minister Vera Tembo said Zambia had one of the best attractions and the arrival of the five rhinos would help enhance the tourism industry in the country.
Ms Tembo said this in Mpika on Wednesday when she received the last batch of five Rhinos at North Luangwa National Park.
The animals were acquired through the intergovernmental trade agreements involving Zambia, Namibia and South Africa.
In this agreement, Zambia has given 200 Puku, 200 Lechwe, 10 Sitatunga and 10 Oribi to Namibia. The Namibia government in turn gave 12 Black Rhinos Bicornis to South Africa and South Africa provided the 10 Black Rhinos minors to Zambia.
“Zambia wishes to affirm her position in collaborating with Southern African Development Community (SADC) as well as the international community at large to protect the endangered species and their habitats,” Ms Tembo said.
She said that was why the Government had ratified several multi-lateral wildlife and environmental agreements and continues to provide sound legal framework guiding conservation and sustainable utilisation of natural resources.
Northern Province Minister John Chinyanta said the international community had entrusted the country with responsibility to continue showing excellence in protecting the national heritage.
Mr Chinyanta said the reintroduction programme of the Black Rhinos would assist Zambia become a tourist attraction of the Luangwa ecosystem and at the same time contribute towards improving conservation of other species in the valley.
Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) board chairperson Ephraim Mwenda bemoaned the continued increase in poaching especially in the Lower Zambezi National Park.
Dr Mwenda said poaching had unacceptably increased in national parks and urged ZAWA officers to take stern action against illegal animal killers.
He also urged the donor community to increase support towards the conservation of wildlife.