Zambia Enters a Wildlife Exchange Program with Kenya

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The following story was reported in the Lusaka Times after AWF President Dr. Helen Gichohi hosted a visit from Zambia's Tourism, Environmental and Natural Resources Minister Catherine Namugala at AWF Headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya.

LUSAKA TIMES, Zambia--Zambia and Kenya will, with support from the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF), enter into a staff exchange programme under which staff from the Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA), and Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) will interact to enhance quality wildlife management in their countries.

Tourism, Environment and Natural Resources Minister Catherine Namugala, who is in Kenya to gather firsthand information on how Kenya manages its wildlife resources and how tourism development has been boosted to become the major economic engine for the east African nation, says, Zambia has a lot to learn from that country.

Tourism in Kenya contributes 15 percent to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), earning the country an average of US$1 billion per annum.

Ms. Namugala toured offices of KWS and was later taken on a walking Safari of the institution's animal sanctuary, with species ranging from lions to monkeys among others.

She said her visit would strengthen collaboration in wildlife management and tourism between Zambia and Kenya. She also said Zambia stood to benefit more from Kenya's model of wildlife management and tourism development.

Ms. Namugala was also impressed with the air wing department of KWS, which gives air support services to wildlife management.

The Minister who was accompanied by her Permanent Secretary Teddy Kasonso and Zambian High Commissioner to Kenya Christine Lambert also had an aerial view of one of Africa's leading city Parks - the Nairobi National Park.

The Park, dubbed Kenya's Wildlife Shop Window, has contributed greatly to promotion of domestic tourism. It was learnt that, of the two million annual tourist arrivals, 57 percent are local people.

While in Kenya the Minister will tour selected National Parks and pick up lessons on wildlife policy and legislation. The Zambian delegation will also learn how tourism concessions in Kenya have been standardized in addition to best corporate management systems in wildlife and tourism circles.

The Minister's entourage will also be taken to community conservancies outside Nairobi to see how ordinary people were working with government in conservation of animal resources.

KWS Director Julius Kipng'etich said he was confident that, Kenya would by 2013 become the World leader in wildlife Conservation resulting in a robust tourism sector.

African Wildlife Foundation President Dr. Hellen Gichohi assured Ms. Namugla of her organization's assistance in wildlife management.

Ms Namugala is later expected to visit Arusha, Tanzania, on a similar mission.