By Scoop Reporter
THE Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW) is currently doing routine health checks and treatment of all the animals in Munda Wanga before it re-opens.
Ministry of Tourism and Arts Public Relations Officer Sakabilo Kalembwe – Zacks yesterday said this is to ensure animals are clean of ticks and worms and looks attractive to the most esteemed local and foreign tourists.
Mr. Kalembwe says cats, especially lions are the major attraction to the visitors to the wildlife sanctuary that will soon be re-opening following President Edgar Lungu’s relaxing of Covid-19 restrictions on the tourism Sector.
He says his ministry finds it unfortunate that some social media platforms have chosen to spread false information that lions at Munda Wanga are being flown out of the country for sale.
“Facts are that, Munda Wanga is home to 13 lions in total out of which are four new cubs that were born three months ago and available for all to see. Three of the lions are very old, over 25 years of age meaning they are getting close to the end of their lifespan and when they die trophies are collected and treated for the public to appreciate.
“There are other six that are just maturing. All the lions are within Munda Wanga and the DNPW veterinary unit is regularly treating all the cats including caracals, serval cats, civets and other cats. Last week, the unit carried out the routine checks so that when the park re-opens animals are very healthy,” Mr. Kalembwe said.
He says lions at Munda Wanga are kept as “ambassador” species and for education purposes to the general public and that the Ministry is cognizant of the fact that majority of Zambians cannot afford to travel to National Parks because of the distance and expenses involved, hence the need to ensure that Munda Wanga is well stocked for Zambians to see the ‘ambassador’ species.
He says Vets and Ecologists and the general DNPW management are in that regard working tirelessly to ensure the place comes back to life.
“Munda Wanga Sanctuary and Botanical Gardens was closed on 27th March 2020 as precautionary measure against Covid-19. Regarding safari hunting, the Department is yet to announce the official start of the hunting season.
“DNPW will officially advertise in the public media to call for applications for those interested in the hunting,” he said.