Caritas Zambia Acting Director Eugene Kabilika
Caritas Zambia has expressed concern that people given the responsibility to protect wildlife are encouraging illegal trade through dubious deals in hunting licenses and concessions on timber.
In a message to mark Word Environment Day which falls on 5th June, Caritas Zambia Acting Director Eugene Kabilika appealed for steps to protect mother earth by stopping all forms of burning, cutting of trees, poisoning nature and environment.
“Curbing illegal wildlife trade should not be done in isolation. It should be part of the larger programme of caring for the environment that prioritising equity for the benefit of Zambians, especially the communities living near game management areas and forests” Mr. Kabilika said.
He added that his Organisation believes that the protection of wildlife should be for every Zambian.
“We call for zero tolerance towards illegal wild life trade. Let us unite and fight cannot be a reality if our current trends of consumption and damaging of the earth continue. In fact her ability to support life, as we know it today will collapse in the next 50 years or more. Global illegal trade on wildlife has taken a major toll on the world’s endangered species” He said.
Mr. Kabilika further said that in Zambia, the rate of poaching and cutting of trees exceeds the natural regeneration of the population of animals and trees thereby pushing threatened species to extinction.
“Engaging local communities to care for wildlife is recognised as a key approach to tackling the illegal wildlife trade. As long as communities in Zambia, especially those who live near game management areas and forests, do not see these resources as their own and devoid of their local economy, poaching and indiscriminate cutting of trees will continue. We need to design programmes that willsupport alternative livelihoods of communities living in these areas and also make the economic value of wildlife to be part of the community’s local economy. Then, the community themselves will become the game rangers” He advised.
The Caritas Zambia Acting Director further called for a stop to fishing using mosquito nets, killing wild life and make mother Earth happy and productive again.
And on large scale agriculture and mining, Mr. Kabilika has said the practice is known to be the largest contributors to the destruction of biodiversity and eco-systems, thereby slowly creating the necessary conditions for climate change and squeezing the natural habitats of wildlife, especially animals.
“The use of pesticides and clearance of large areas of forests renders the soils bare and polluted and in the case of mining completely unusable. Although in the short term mining and large scale agriculture may present themselves as solution for increased economic growth, the cost involved to sustain such practices are high both in economic and environmental terms” He added.
He has since reiterated Pope Francis’s Pope Francis request to nourish and sustain the earth, so that it can in turn nourish and sustain humanity.
Meanwhile Caritas Zambia has said that the starting point in searching for solutions affecting planet earth today should be spiritual rather than scientific.
Making reference to Pope Francis’ encyclical on the environment dubbed, “Laudato Si’ where he praises God for the gift of the earth and all its resources, Mr. Kabilika said people’s failures are associated to over-consumption and to equitably share the gifts of creation adding that the development has dire consequences for the poor and the planet itself.
Quoting Pope Francis, Mr. Kabilika said: “It is therefore urgent that we change our sense of human progress, our management of the economy, and our style of life. Such change is going to require major shifts in our thinking and commitments. Indeed, it needs conversion of groups and institutions at every level, from local communities to global humanity.The world’s economy must meet the true needs of people for their survival and integral human flourishing. This is a matter of respect for human dignity and recognition of the common good. In the world today, it seems as if no argument is permissible against allowing capitalism free rein to achieve monstrous wealth-accumulation rather than human dignity and the common good”.
Zambia commemorated world environmental day under the theme Zero Tolerance for Illegal Wildlife Trade- Lets Unite and Fight.