LUSAKA, Zambia, Feb. 17, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- The Government of Zambia and African Parks have signed a Memorandum of Understanding which will see the implementation of a Priority Support Plan for the protection of Kafue National Park. Signed on Thursday 4th February, the Priority Support Plan will increase technical and financial support for Kafue worth US$3 million over a period of 12 months.
Minister of Tourism and Arts Honourable, Hon. Ronald K. Chitotela, said the MoU would help Zambia to realize the potential of the Kafue National Park which is Zambia's prime tourist destination and an internationally renowned wildlife sanctuary.
"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 actualize the park's potential in contributing to the economy and the wellbeing of our people," the Minister said.
The Priority Support Plan will see the collaboration between Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW) and African Parks implement activities in key priority areas over the ensuing 12 months, while the parties negotiate for a long-term agreement. The primary objectives include improving critical infrastructure, supporting the DNPW's law enforcement efforts and conducting conservation baseline studies.
African Parks' CEO Peter Fearnhead said "Kafue National Park is 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".
Kafue National Park is situated in the world's largest transfrontier conservation area, the Kavango Zambezi (KAZA TFCA), which straddles the boundaries of five countries, forming one cross-border ecosystem the size of France. Kafue's Priority Support Plan will be funded through Dutch Postcode Lottery's dreamfund grant, a 16.9 million Euro contribution awarded to the World Wide Fund for Nature, African Parks and Peace Parks Foundation to assist KAZA partner states in securing the TFCA through integrated initiatives.
Kafue is Zambia's largest wildlife sanctuary, covering 22,400km2 of intact savannah and a network of water channels dominated by the Kafue River. It represents one of the last expansive tracts of the iconic Zambezian ecoregion, 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.