‘Conservation not one-man-game’

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ANTELOPE PARK, Gweru, has been engaged by the Burundi Government to implement its lion breeding programme which has seen an increase of the species under attack in Africa.
The African lion population has drastically deteriorated from a population of about 300 000 to less than 25 000 over the years due to human-wildlife conflict and diseases, among other factors.
Speaking during a site inspection at Antelope Park recently, Gary Jones, the park’s general manager said the Burundi Government was impressed with the park’s breeding programme and wanted to work together.
“The Burundi Government sent a huge delegation to learn more about our lion breeding programme because they were impressed by it,” said Jones.
“They are interested in us replicating this programme to repopulate their country’s parks seeing their wildlife has deteriorated.
“The African lion has a pivotal role in the food chain and to me, it is what I call a biological filter as it keeps check on the weak of other animals.
“Through our conservation programme, we have managed to grow this population to about 125 lions.
“Some of these provide the unique lion-encounter experience which we offer.”
Also speaking during the tour, operations manager Irikidzai Ndanda said all people needed to play their part in making sure the conservation agenda is achieved.
“Conservation is not a one-man-game,” Ndanda said.
“It needs a wholistic approach and we are happy the community we live in has found the need to help in protecting our wildlife because they see a benefit in the park being here.
“This is the reason poaching is limited here.
“Policymakers, however, need to make sure that human encroachment in parks does not occur because this is the biggest cause of human-wildlife conflict.”
Jonathan Kear, a tourist from the UK endorsed Zimbabwe as a peaceful and safe tourist destination.
“Contrary to the massive negative reports about Zimbabwe, the country is beautiful and it’s amazing,” said Kear.
“This trip has been an eye opener for me.
“I would love to come back and visit other countries like Uganda because I have only two weeks to tour the Victoria Falls, Gweru and Cape Town.”
Site inspection is one of the activities lined up during this week in which the Sanganai/Hlanganani World Tourism Expo 2017 is being held in Bulawayo.
This is the 10th edition which has witnessed a tremendous growth of 44 percent.
This year, about US$485 000 was released by Treasury to ensure the successful hosting of the expo.
Eleven countries are part of the expo that also attracted over 200 buyers from around the world.

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