CITES urged to consider plight of

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THE Parks and Wildlife Management Authority board has challenged the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) secretariat to look closely at wildlife management as a source of livelihood for the people of Southern Africa. John Sellar, CITES chief of law enforcement and compliance, was in the country recently on a tour of Zimbabwe’s national parks to determine the country’s performance in terms of wildlife trade and management. Speaking during a seminar in Harare, Parks and Wildlife Management Authority board member Jerry Gotora challenged the CITES representative to critically look into how many livelihoods were dependent on the wildlife which they jealously safeguarded. “There is need for CITES to look critically into the livelihoods of most African people, which are basically limited and reward those countries,” said Gotora. “Why should nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) be rewarded when they are not the ones who conserve the wildlife? “It is the people who live in the different communities and the Parks and Wildlife Management Authority which conserve the wildlife and these should be rewarded. “These people should be given the expertise, equipment and technology to be able to operate meaningfully, but they do not have any.” He said only people with a passion for conserving wildlife could understand it and in turn they could incorporate others from other sectors on wildlife management issues. “For you to enforce things you must understand them hence such groups as immigration authorities, police and customs officials must be taught so they develop a passion for conserving wildlife,” he said. During the seminar, Sellar gave a presentation on combating wildlife crime. He imparted knowledge on the different markets for illegal trade which include the bushmeat tree, caviar trade, falconry trade, fashion industry, fur trade, ivory trade and pet trade, among others. The CITES chief of enforcement and compliance also offered tips on how countries could stop wildlife crime. Among the methods prescribed were screenings of airports and seaports and package couriers. Sellar highlighted how CITES was producing information on the latest trends and routes being used in wildlife crime. He revealed that ivory both ivory and rhino horns are used by Jampiya craftsmen in Yemen and Saudi Arabia to make daggers. Ivory is also used in medicines for cancer, fever and stroke. In China, ivory is used in the manufacture of libation cups. George Pangeti, the board chairman of the Parks and Wildlife Management Authority, explained Government’s commitment to conserving wildlife. He hailed Zimbabwe’s wildlife conservation, which he said was still intact when compared to other African countries. “Zimbabwe is privileged to be one of the few wildlife range states in Africa where large areas of land which have been set aside as protected areas still have viable populations of various species of endangered plants and animals,” said Pangeti. “In many countries some wildlife species have been completely wiped out as a result of legal and illegal trade and other factors with the only records to indicate their existence in the past now left as anecdotal evidence.” Based in Geneva, Switzerland, CITES works by subjecting international trade in selected species to certain controls. It regulates the imports, exports and re-exports and the introduction of all that is covered by the convention while ensuring that all processes are authorised by a licensing system.

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