THE Government has started translocating hundreds of wild animals from Save Valley Conservancy in Masvingo to beef up the populations at Zambezi National Park in Victoria Falls ahead of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation General Assembly scheduled for next week.The UNWTO General Assembly is scheduled for August 24 to 29 2013 and is expected to bring together 1 500 delegates to Victoria Falls, among them Ministers of Tourism, tourist wholesalers and captains of the tourism and hospitality industries from 186 countries.
National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority has been mandated to translocate 151 wildebeests, 25 elands, 60 zebras, 100 impalas and 10 giraffes. Outgoing Wildlife and Natural Resources Minister Francis Nhema yesterday witnessed the translocation of several animals being released into the Boma holding at Chemabondo.
He said Government had long decided to beef up the plains game population in the Zambezi National Park after the figures dwindled over the years due to many factors including poaching and water problems.
“We are translocating the animals from Save Valley conservancy to Zambezi National Park to beef up the population there. In the past we had translocated 101 wildebeests, 34 impala, 16 eland and 18 zebras. Today we have seen the translocation of another consignment of 20 eland, 64 impala, and 17 zebra.
“The animal population had decreased, in short, due to poaching and other factors and we are now correcting our past mistakes.
“There are several reasons why our protected areas require population supplementation. Some of these reasons include increasing visibility for wildlife tourism, strengthening the genetic pool, destocking, overpopulated areas, establishing the desired sex ratios and increasing prey base for large carnivores,’’ he said.
Over the years there had been concern over the plains game population in the Zambezi National Park, which occupies the north-western part of Victoria Falls, where wild animals roam wild and free.
Unlike the plains game, the Zambezi National Park boasts of a huge elephant population often spotted on the banks of the Zambezi River and adjacent islands.
The translocations will certainly boost visibility of small game in the national parks from where game stray into the streets of Victoria Falls town.
Delegates to the UNWTO general assembly will certainly bump into elephants that are always in the town this time of the year as well as plains game that are a daily occurrence.