Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Zambia Wildlife Authority give permission for the import of 19 lion before EIA is completed...

Update from David Youldon, the ALERT (African Lion Environment and Research Trust)
Newsletters » June/July 2007 » African Lion and Environmental Research Trust

It’s exciting times for the Lion Rehabilitation & Release into the Wild Program! At the end of August this year we will be releasing our first pride of lions into stage two of the program at the Dollar Block Reserve in Zimbabwe. The pride will be made up of two males and five females, who have all benefited from time out in their natural environment at Antelope Park in stage one of the program. The release will be attended by ALERT & African Encounter staff as well as special invited guests including Sir Ranulph Fiennes, described by the Guiness Book of Records as “the world’s greatest living explorer”. A number of media agencies will also be covering the event. Our staff have been working hard at the release site, and building work is right on schedule. The last few upright poles to support the double fence are being placed, water pans are being built and observation towers are being constructed for research purposes. Working with our consultant vets, and with advice from the Zimbabwean Wildlife Veterinary Service, the necessary vaccinations and disease testing is about to commence and the DNA testing has been completed by Jean Dubach at the Chicago Zoological Society.

On May 17th a scoping meeting was held in Livingstone as the start of an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of our release site in the Dambwa Forest in Zambia. The meeting, attended by government agencies, local communities and other interested groups, gave the chance for the various stakeholders in the Forest to air concerns about the intended development. These concerns will be considered within the EIA to negate or limit negative impacts and maximize positive ones. The EIA is being conducted by Envsol Consult. We plan to build 2 stage two and a stage three release site within the Forest. We hope to start work on the first of the stage two release sites later in 2007. Applications have been made to the Zimbabwean government to export 19 lions to Zambia. This is the final stage before we can move the lions over, having already received the import permit from the Zambian government back in March of this year. We are working with the Zimbabwean government to ensure that they are happy with all the arrangements we are making for the transport of the lions as well as the condition under which they will be kept once moved. ALERT continues to thank all the supporters of the project that have helped us to get so far towards our goals.
David Youldon
ALERT Executive Director