The Zambian government and non-profit conservation organisation, African Parks, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding that will see the implementation of a Priority Support Plan (PSP) for the protection and development of Kafue National Park.
It will increase technical and financial support for the park by US$3m over a period of 12 months. This collaboration between Department of National Parks and Wildlife and African Parks will see the implementation of activities in key priority areas for the duration of the annual agreement, while the parties negotiate a long-term agreement.
The PSP will be funded through the Dutch Postcode Lottery’s dream fund grant, a €16.9m contribution awarded to the World Wide Fund for Nature, African Parks and Peace Parks Foundation.
Minister of Tourism and Arts, Ronald K Chitotela, said: “It is essential that we invest in the protection of our wildlife and enhance the infrastructure for tourism. Having worked together for 18 years, we believe that African Parks is a partner who can help us to actualise the park’s potential in contributing to the economy and the wellbeing of our people.”
African Parks’ CEO, Peter Fearnhead, pointed out that the Kafue National Park was one of Africa’s best known protected areas and one of the ten largest on the African continent.
“We look forward to supporting the Zambian Government’s vision to conserve this extremely precious resource and to optimise its long-term social, economic and ecological benefits.”
Director of the Department of National Parks and Wildlife, Dr Chuma Simukonda, said the sheer scale of Kafue National Park and its associated challenges required enormous resources to manage it successfully.
The Kafue National Park is in the world’s largest transfrontier conservation area, the Kavango Zambezi (KAZA TFCA), which straddles the boundaries of Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Kafue forms one cross-border ecosystem the size of France and covers 22 400 sq km of savannah and a network of water channels dominated by the Kafue River.
The national park represents one of the last expansive tracts of the iconic Zambezian eco region, providing a singular opportunity to conserve significant populations of savannah wildlife, including elephants, large predators and 21 species of antelope – the highest diversity of antelope on the continent.
Kafue is also designated by BirdLife International as an Important Bird Area, with at least 515 bird species recorded.