The Zambian government said on Friday that there was no need for apprehension on its decision to lift the ban on the hunting of big cats.
The government said the lifting of the ban on hunting of big cats was aimed at protecting the endangered species from poachers.
Minister of Tourism and Arts Jean Kapata said in a ministerial statement presented in parliament that the government has put in place measures to ensure that the hunting of the big cats does not threaten their population.
The resumption of hunting would not deplete the country’s animal stocks as the country had between 1,500 and 2,500 lions and 4,000 leopards.
She said the hunting of lions will only resume in the 2016/2017 hunting season with cautionary quotas restricting culling to only two lions in prime hunting areas and one in secondary and game ranches.
The leopard hunting will resume in the 2015/2016 hunting season, she added.
“The modalities that the government is taking are similar to what is obtaining in our neighboring countries such as Tanzania, Mozambique and Zimbabwe and have proved to be effective,” she said.
The government, she said, will soon issue guidelines on the hunting of big cats, adding that the government decided to lift the ban on cat hunting because it had affected consumptive tourism, safari hunting and consequently wildlife conservation and management.
Zambia banned cat hunting and suspended safari hunting in 19 hunting blocks on January 10, 2013. The ban was however lifted on May 10, 2015, a move that received wide condemnation from a cross section of society. Enditem