Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) on Friday asked lawmakers to grant it powers to start killing poachers.
Acting director-general, ZAWA ,the government’s agency responsible for managing the country’s wildlife sector, Kapamba Kombe, told newsmen in Lusaka that the request had been submitted to the parliamentary committee on Agriculture.
Kombe said the country’s wildlife law needed amendment to permit wildlife officers to kill poachers as game parks are like `war zones.’
“I take it that a poacher can kill the officer; Police officers on the other hand have the right to kill a thief who has a weapon.
“Why don’t you seek to have the Act grant rights to these wildlife officers to kill those found wanting because their lives are at stake,” Kombe said.
According to him, the wildlife agency has on several occasions requested that wildlife officers should be authorised to shoot back at armed poachers but that their request has always been turned down.
He said wildlife officers have ended up being incarcerated if they shot a poacher.
“We have been told that the right to kill by our officers will encourage them to be trigger-happy.
“But we have stated time and again that we have lost quite a number of officers out there.
“Instead of protecting the animals, wildlife officers prefer running away from the poacher than go to jail,”