Tourism Minister advises private Game Parks to observe laws
Minister of Tourism, Culture and Wildlife, Michael Usi made an impromptu visit to R & L farm and game ranch at Bunda Lilongwe on Wednesday, 1st September, 2021 where, among others, he advised the owner of the establishment to follow the laws that govern the keeping of wild animals on private ranches.
The minister said the private ranch is a very good development because it is in tandem with the Tonse Alliance philosophy as well as his ministry's strategy of promoting domestic tourism as one way of boosting the country's economic growth. He, however, said there should not be any cutting of corners when it comes to following the law and guidelines that govern the domesticating of wild animals.
"This is a very good development and I would like to congratulate you because you are promoting domestic tourism as one way of achieving economic growth. I believe this establishment has a strong business case as a tourist attraction spot because apart from operating as a farm, it is also a centre of tourist attraction where people come to see the animals whilst paying something, which is a very encouraging tourism concept.
"Apart from just being a business concept tourism is also about representation, meaning this concept also represents what we are doing as a country in the area of tourism. This is the reason why my ministry is very interested in the concept," said the minister. The minister hailed the fact that the owner of the ranch is a young person something faithful to government's agenda of promoting youth enterprise as one way of job creation. He added that it is high time that the youth begin to enlarge their perspectives and to start coming up with ambitious a concepts like the R & L ranch.
Said Usi: "Of course there are a number of areas that must be looked at critically because you are in the tourism business where you deal with so many people and partners, and in your case you are also dealing with lives of animals, which is why it is important not to make mistakes.
Already, I have noted that there are some animals that are not in good health and I would want to believe it is due to issues of food and perhaps inadequate roaming space. "I have also noted that, apart from the fact that you have not finished sorting out the issue of licenses for some animals, you rushed to bring too many different animals to the ranch that are demanding too many different types of food as a result you are struggling to feed them. I therefore want to urge you to quickly find a solution to this challenge in order to protect the lives and rights of the animals"
He called upon the Director of Parks and Wildlife, Brighton Kunchedwa who was also part of the delegation, to engage with the owner of the ranch as well as the Lilongwe Wildlife Trust within a week to find a way forward to the issues so that the ranch is operating without any outstanding hitches.
In his words, the owner of the 48 hectare ranch, 33-year old Rashid Geloo said he was happy that the minister spared his time to visit R & L farm and ranch. He said apart from earning income through tourist visitations, the concept is also helping to create youth employment within the area.
"We employ 15 youths at the ranch who mostly act as tour guides for visitors but apart from that, we also have part time employees who help us feed the animals and do other jobs," said Geloo.
Geloo, whose professional background is computer engineering, said he ventured into the concept because he is passionate about ranching, and expressed happiness that the minister visited the ranch during the tourism month of September. He said most of the animals are imported from Zambia and some from as far as Japan. Among the animals that are kept at the ranch are Zebras, Ostriches, Emu, Kudus, Bushbucks, Porcupines, Geese, Vultures, Rabbits, Guineafowls, and various types of birds.