THE Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (Zimparks) says it is committed to protecting the Mana Pools area following increasing interest by miners to explore the area for mining opportunities.
A little known company Shalom Mining, applied for permission to explore for oil and gas in Mana Pools, which triggered a backlash from local communities and conservation advocates.
Mana Pools National Park, which lies on the southern bank of the Zambezi River, is a designated World Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation.
Speaking on Friday during the signing of the Lower Zambezi Mana Pools Transfrontier Conservation Area (LOZAMAP TFCA) memorandum of understanding between Zimbabwe and Zambia, Zimparks director general Fulton Mangwanya said the conservation of natural resources required collaboration.
‘‘The conservation of natural resources across fronts is challenging hence the need for cooperation, coordination, and collaboration to enhance law enforcement capacities and improve resource mobilization for adequate protection of our natural resources,” he said.
‘‘Zimbabwe cannot conserve these natural resources as an island but requires models to manage the shared natural resources through joint law enforcement and monitoring, creating tourism opportunities and proffering solutions to boundary disputes.
“Given the increased volume of illegal trade and trafficking of species and specimens of wild flora and fauna, the high level of alleged or reported infractions, the signing of the MoU and subsequent formalisation of the LOZAMAP TFCA could mean an increased level of vigilance by parties, and deter unscrupulous activities between the protected areas involved.”
The prolonged process to establish the pact between the two governments started in 2002.
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Environment, Climate, Tourism, and Hospitality Industry minister Nqobizitha Ndlovu said the MOU was part of efforts to implement the Sadc Protocol on Wildlife Conservation and Law Enforcement of 1999.
His Zambian counterpart Rodney Sikumba said the partnership would help manage the area that is endowed with natural resources.