ZIMBABWE has been nominated to head the Southern Africa Elephant Management Task force, a Sadc initiative, to formulate a common position on jumbo management strategy.
The decision was taken after a Southern Africa Wildlife Consultative meeting that was held in Johannesburg last month.
According to recommendations of the meeting, the region has a total known elephant population of 380 000, which is shared by member countries but which is twice the desired carrying capacity.
The recommendations also said that there was a need for a “regional elephant management strategy to be formulated and be adopted by Sadc member states”.
The meeting recommended the setting up of a task team comprising conservation agencies from all Sadc member states to “be constituted and mandated to formulate a regional ele-phant management stra-tegy and to invite other conservation agencies to assist in the process, through both technical and material provisions”.
Zimbabwe was nomi-nated to chair the regional task force with the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s Regional Office for Southern Africa facilitating.
The appointment of Zimbabwe comes at time when the country has finished its position paper pertaining to the forthcoming Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites) due to be held in Thailand next month.
At the Thailand meeting, Zimbabwe will be seeking to resume ivory trading and maintain the elephant population on Appendix II, which allows limited trade in elephant population.
Currently Zimbabwe is listed on Appendix I, which bars any form of trade in the elephants and elephant products.
Although over the years there have been concerns about the illegal trade in ivory trade, which has remained a real problem, Zimbabwe has been arguing that the size of its elephant population was a threat to the habitat.
Zimbabwe has an estimated 89 000 elephants which is beyond its carrying capacity of between 40 000 and 45 000 animals.
Minister of Environment and Tourism Francis Nhema yesterday said that National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority had finished compiling the country’s position on the up coming Cites.
“They (National Parks)met last week and came up with a position on what we are going to do,” Nhema said.
“I am still to see the report because they are still to forward it to me.”