Cheetah population in Zambia contracting
Minister of Tourism and Arts Charles Banda says the range for cheetah is slowly contracting and now has mostly remained in protected areas found on the western side of Zambia such as Liuwa, Kafue and Sioma-Ngwezi national parks.
Dr. Banda says it is sad to note that cheetah has not been seen in South Luangwa national park for almost a decade now while only one male cheetah was spotted in the lower Zambezi national park in that period.
He said wild dog on the other hand has a wider distribution than cheetah but still reducing because they are facing threats of disease, poaching and deliberate if not indirect snaring.
Dr. Banda was speaking during the launch of the strategic Rhino Conservation and Management Plan 2019-2023 and the Cheetah and Wild dog National Action Plan.
He said the Zambian government recognizes that cheetah and wild dog are not only important to the ecological functions of our protected areas, but to tourism development as well and are charismatic species that are part of the top five large carnivores found in Zambia together with hyena, leopard and lion.
Dr. Banda said as such they help to draw tourists to this country and therefore have an important place in the promotion of tourism in Zambia.
And Dr. Banda who disclosed that only three Rhinos have been lost in the last decade said government is therefore concerned about the two species diminishing.
He said his Ministry also recognizes that cheetah and wild dog have common behavior and face similar threats hence the development of a joint national conservation action plan for the two species.
Dr. Banda said the national conservation action plan for cheetah and wild dog like the rhino strategy is also in line with the seventh national development plan as it supports tourism development through restocking of identified national parks.
He said this plan will be implemented under five themes namely; capacity development, knowledge and information, information transfer, coexistence, land use, political commitment, policy and legislation, and national planning.
Dr. Banda said it will provide overall management guidance in a number of strategies that will be used to achieve the objectives under the five themes.