ZAMBEZI SOCIETY CONSULTATION ~ CHITAKE SPRINGS (WITHIN MANA POOLS NATIONAL PARK)
PUBLIC QUESTIONNAIRE Chitake Springs, near the southern boundary of Mana Pools National Park, has undergone a noticeable deterioration, particularly with regard to the thoughtless and intrusive impact of human behaviour. The Spring is a fragile ecosystem and the animals are hostage to the precious water from the Spring. Human intrusion should be kept to a minimum in such an environment.
The Zambezi Society does not wish the situation at Chitake to deteriorate further. We have met with tour operators and are busy working on a collaborative set of recommendations to present to National Parks to use as guidelines for "self enforcement”. We would appreciate feedback from members of the visiting public who are familiar with Mana Pools and Chitake in particular.
We intend to:-
1. Reconstitute the available Codes of Conduct and enhance deficient areas of concern
2. Develop a document for discussions between Tour Operators, The Zambezi Society and National Parks
3. Develop a protocol of binding principles for tour operators which could then be used as a benchmark for “fair and ethical behaviour”
4. Develop a protocol of binding principles for all users of Mana Pools National Park
5. Develop a reporting and monitoring protocol, with agreements on “self regulation”.
6. Consider the resuscitation of the “Honorary Warden” concept
The Zambezi Society is committed to this process, and as a follow-through would arrange printing, and appropriate distribution, of all the relevant materials.
Please can you comment on the following:
1. Please give us your name and e-mail contact address.
2. When did you last visit the Park/Chitake?
3. How often do you visit the Park/Chitake
4. Parks have put a road which they use to deploy scouts into the base of the escarpment. This road runs very adjacent to the Eastern rim of the Spring and is now being used by visitors for game viewing. This road cuts directly across the main game access paths and is proving extremely disruptive. We believe this road should either be moved or closed.
5. Driving along the river bed happens from time to time. This is strictly forbidden and we, as users of the Spring, should report any breach of this and ensure that Parks fine the perpetrators.
6. Animals should be given right of way and when drinking, and at all times should not be disturbed. It has been reported that visitors and certain tour operators, in pursuit of photographs cause animals to flee before they have been able to quench their thirst. We need to demand that human visitors and operators respect wildlife.
7. Certain tour operators with their clients encroach too close to lion in pursuit of dramatic photographs. This may be one of the causes of some reports of brazen lion activity. This should be reported.
8. Noise, music and use of non-tempered spotlights should be banned.
9. Ash from campsites should be buried, rubbish removed and faeces buried.
10. The number of visitors per campsite should be restricted to a maximum of 8.
11. Chitake is essentially a "walking" and stationary viewing location. Driving is discouraged and off-road driving is a serious offence. National Parks and the Zambezi Society should ensure that the Spring is marketed as such. Foreign tourists are often surprised that they cannot drive and hence misbehave, causing disruption and disturbance to wildlife and the environment.
We suggest that you copy the above questions into an e-mail, add your replies, title the e-mail CHITAKE CONSULTATION RESPONSE and send to The Zambezi Society at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for your participation in this valuable exercise, we greatly appreciate it!