Cheetah returns to Bangweulu
Friday, 18 December, 2020
Government has successfully translocated initial three cheetahs from South Africa resulting from a collaboration between Zambia’s Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW), African Parks, the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT), Ashia Cheetah Conservation and National Geographic.
The reintroduction of the species is being undertaken to help restore Bangweulu’s biodiversity and aid efforts to secure safe spaces to promote the long-term survival of the species in the region.
Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW) Acting Director says with the reintroduction of cheetahs to this wetland, Bangweulu would serve as a paragon for community conservation.
He said the unique tripartite partnership with the Community Resource Boards and African Parks has unlocked an opportunity here to help protect this vulnerable species from extinction in the wild, while helping to revitalize Bangweulu and enhance nature-based tourism.
Dr Chuma Simukonda says DNPW is proud to be working together to preserve biodiversity, securing lasting benefits not just for local communities and for all Zambians – but as a contribution to securing a sustainable legacy for the planet.
And African Parks’ (AP) Country Director James Milanzi says in many parts of the continent cheetahs face an uncertain future, but today the Zambian Government and Bangweulu’s communities are providing a chance for their recovery.
He said thanked AP’s 12-year partnership with the DNPW and six CRBs, Bangweulu has seen a dramatic transformation.
Mr. Milanzi says the reintroduction of cheetahs marks a new ecological milestone, and an exciting new chapter for eco-tourism to this region.
Meanwhile Cheetah Metapopulation Manager Vincent van der Merwe says with fewer than 7,000 cheetahs remaining in only a fraction of their historic range, safe and secure protected areas are essential to the survival of the species in Africa’s wild landscapes.
He says his organization managed to double wild Cheetah numbers in the fenced protected areas in Africa over the past decade.
And Bangweulu Wetlands Community Manager Emmanuel Mutamba says the community is very excited with the programme.
He said there are older generations that remember the existence of the cheetah in the Bangweulu ecosystem.