ZAMBEZI SOCIETY CONSULTATION ~ MANA POOLS NATIONAL PARK
PUBLIC QUESTIONNAIRE 2015 Over the past couple of years, the wilderness experience in Mana Pools National Park has undergone a noticeable deterioration, with the increasing abuse of this unique Park by unsanctioned, uncontrolled human activities. Wild animals and the Park’s fragile ecosystems are suffering from the impacts of human behaviour.
It has been noted that the perpetrators of the abuse are a relatively small percentage of the local and foreign visiting public as well as some tour operators. It would be a travesty if, as custodians alongside Zimbabwe’s Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (ZPWMA), we allow the situation to deteriorate. This would inevitably result in draconian restrictions being imposed on tourism, thus reducing the area to a “typical game park” as opposed to a singularly unique environment with global significance as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Zambezi Society has met with tour operators and we 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.
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 take a few minutes to answer all or some of the following questions/observations.
1. Please give us your name and e-mail contact address.
2. When did you last visit the Park?
3. How frequently do you visit the Park?
4. Have you observed:-
- Flagrant disregard of the National Park rules including, but not limited to, off road driving, vehicular encroachment of animal space, the inappropriate use of spotlights, music and rowdiness in the campsites etc? (Add any details).
- Inappropriate behaviour by visitors or operators with wildlife observation, photography of dens etc? (Add details)
- Disregard of exclusive camps and tour operator camps’ right to privacy? (Add any details.)
- Private armed escorts for individual groups privately booked (i.e. tour operators operating without official licensing) (Add details)
5. Have you experienced:-
- The impact of ration hunting by ZPWMA? (Add details)
6. Do you have any comments on the efficiency (or otherwise) of Park staff
7. What is your stand on adding additional public and/or operator campsites and the impact this would have on animal access to the river?
We suggest that you copy the above questions into an e-mail, add your replies, title the e-mail MANA CONSULTATION RESPONSE and send to The Zambezi Society at email@example.com
Thank you for your participation in this valuable exercise, we greatly appreciate it!