Minister of Environment and Climate, Tourism And Hospitality Industry, Honorable Nqobizitha Mangaliso Ndhlovu says there is need for the government to come up with laws that help to eradicate poaching and smuggling of wildlife products since it brings strain to the economy.
Addressing delegates during the Ministry’s final legislative review of the consultative meeting held in Harare today, Minister Ndhlovu said poaching and smuggling is one of the key threats facing biodiversity and sustainable utilization today therefore should be stopped.
“Smuggling involves transnational organized crime and has strong linkages with the trafficking of other non-wildlife products. It is estimated that resources worth between USD 48 to USD 153 billion are lost through illegally traded wildlife products including timber and fisheries globally each year.
“There is therefore need for us to come up with laws that help to eradicate these crimes by identifying them clearly and outing up deterrent sentences for those convicted. In the same breath there is need to empower the law enforcement hierarchy, from Rangers to the judges, to ensure that they have the capacity to deal decisively with wildlife criminals” He said.
Meanwhile, Minister Ndhlovu said the in view of the Government’s National Development Strategy 1, protected wildlife areas are a hallmark of Zimbabwe conservation efforts.
“Improving their status will assist the country to attain the Vision to be a Middle Income Economy by the year 2030, wildlife conservation and Tourism stability is a necessary factor to support the growth of the performance pillars of the economy that will enable us to achieve our objectives,” he said.
The Minister of Environment further urges the people who live near wildlife to be conservative as the future of wildlife survival is in the hands of the community.
“Zimbabwe subscribes to the principle of sustainable utilization, not only of wildlife but all its natural resources. Sustainable utilization tries to balance conservation benefits with the needs and expectations of the people who live with wildlife. This approach recognizes that the future survival of wildlife depends on its relationship with local communities.
“Further sustainable utilization allows for wildlife conservation to contribute towards paying for itself through re-investing financial resources generated from activities such as live wildlife sales and trophy hunting and through non-consumptive utilization such as photographic safaris.” Minister Ndhlovu added.
Also present during the meeting was among others, the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry, Mr Munesu Munodawafa, representatives from the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife including the director general, Dr Fulton Mangwanya and representatives from the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).