A wildlife conservation body has partnered with authorities in Zambia for restocking of animals in one of the country's national parks, an official said on Friday.
WWF-Zambia said it has partnered with the Department of National Parks and Wildlife on an ambitious plan to restock wildlife populations in Sioma Ngwezi National Park located in western Zambia.
The plan involves the restocking of more than 1,500 animals over the next five to eight years.
"We want to bring the park back to its former glory so it can be a source of revenue for the country through, among other things, tourism but also a source of income to the communities in terms of employment opportunities, legal bush meat and wildlife revenues," Eneya Phiri, the wildlife body's head of communications and marketing, said in a statement.
The initiative was necessitated by the dwindling wildlife population in the country's third largest national park due to factors including poaching, wildlife fires and expansion of human settlements.
The wildlife conservation body has also partnered with Peace Parks Foundation, the Community Resources Boards and the traditional leadership in the province to set up an Intensive Protection Zone to facilitate the restocking and reintroductions of the animals, he added.
WWF Zambia Species & Protected Areas Specialist Moses Nyirenda, said a special area that will temporarily hold the translocated animals to allow them to acclimatise before being released into the park has been constructed.
The first batch of the animals was scheduled to arrive before the end of June 2017, he added.
Sioma Ngwezi National Park, with an area of 5,276 square kilometres, is located in western Zambia and borders Angola and Namibia. It is one of the two national parks that were initially created as protected wildlife reserves and royal hunting grounds for the traditional leadership in the area until 1972 when it was declared a national park.