PLANS to establish a zoo by a safari operator in Victoria Falls have generated an outcry from animal activists who say putting the animals in an enclosure is tantamount to ill-treatment of the beasts which freely roam the national parks in the area.
The safari operator (name supplied) runs an upmarket lodge situated on land that borders the Zambezi National Park, which contains the Big Five and other small species and one could enjoy an uninterrupted view of game seated in the comfort of the lodge.
However, what has surprised the animal lovers is the motive behind establishing a zoo when tourists could view game easily at watering holes close to the lodge.
Others were suspicious that the motive was designed to capture the wildlife and do penny breeding so that the lodge could be able to cater for its daily menu, which includes game meat, especially warthogs. Warthogs are on the lodge’s daily menu all year round, with questions being raised as to where the lodge gets the quotas to slaughter the wild animals.
Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force chairperson John Rodriquez yesterday said his organisation would fight to stop the establishment of a zoo in the country and in Victoria Falls.
“We will not allow that, it is unheard of,” he said.
“It is like taking a person and putting him in jail. Zimbabwe does not need a zoo.
“Those animals should roam freely in the parks and any tourist who wants to view them should do so in the national parks during game drives.”
Wildlife conservationist Langton Masunda said the idea was ill-conceived.
“That will kill the charming wilderness of Victoria Falls,” he said.
The chairperson of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Defence, Home Affairs and Security — under which the Department of Monuments falls — Bubi legislator, Clifford Sibanda said a zoo in Victoria Falls was a sign of madness in the minds of people conceiving the idea.
“People should understand that the reason why Victoria Falls was not growing to be a big city was because it’s sitting in a national park,” he said.
“It has been declared one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World and should not be tampered with.”