No Foreign Illegal Mining Encroachers in Vwaza Marsh
The Department of Wildlife and National Parks has dispelled reports that foreign nationals have invaded Vwaza Marsh Wildlife Reserve where illegal mining activities are allegedly taking place.
The Department’s Director, Brighton Kumchedwa, told Zodiak Online on Thursday that a comprehensive investigation by its enforcement team deployed this week has found no traces of such.
“We sent the game rangers and senior officers to investigate the issue. They did not establish anything, so the reports are unfounded. But as a Department, we are alert to act fast in case of any encroachment,” said Kumchedwa.
He said they are currently intending to conduct a parks boundaries affirmation exercise in order to curb domestic encroachment in the country’s reserves.
“We are still experiencing encroachment by the country’ citizens in some of our protected areas, especially Lengwe in Chikwawa and Kasungu national parks. We are also engaging the community leaders to address these problems,” explained he.
An environmentalist, Maloto Chinkombero, has asked the government to establish vibrant sustainable economic empowerment programs targeting communities surrounding these protected areas.
“Rapid population is the main contributing factor to encroachment of parks and wildlife reserves. We should invest more in providing public awareness for people to own the protected areas,” said Chinkombero.
Recently, government conceded that it is failing to efficiently manage natural resources, especially forests.