PROFLIGHT SUPPORTS MARATHON SWIM FOR CONSERVATION

 

Swim for Nsumbu participants en route with Proflight

Scheduled airline Proflight Zambia is showing its commitment to environmental conservation by supporting a sponsored swim in Lake Tanganyika.

The marathon 40km Swim for Nsumbu will be undertaken in relays over five days from June 18, by a group of hardy enthusiasts who aim to swim the length of the boundary of the Nsumbu National Park, which borders the south-west corner of Lake Tanganyika.

The event is being organised by Conservation Lake Tanganyika, whose mission is to promote and preserve the biodiversity of Lake Tanganyika for the sustainable benefit of its inhabitants through a partnership with the community and Zambian government.

“Proflight Zambia believes passionately in the conservation of Zambia’s wildlife and natural resources, and we are proud to be demonstrating that commitment by supporting Conservation Lake Tanganyika and its team of swimmers,” said Proflight Commercial Director Ms Keira Irwin.

Proflight flew four participants to Nkamba Bay to support “Swim for Nsumbu”. Jim Smith, who lives in Australia but was born and brought up in Zambia. He flew out specially to participate in this swim as he is passionate about Lake Tanganyika, Zambia, conservation and swimming! Jim swam in the Commonwealth games in 1990 and at the time was the oldest swimmer at the games. http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=2507&dat=19900125&id=-jpAAAAAIBAJ&sjid=dFkMAAAAIBAJ&pg=5316%2C3891758
Chris Liebenberg was involved with setting up Conservation Lower Zambezi (CLZ) and was the founder of Chongwe River Camp. He still part owns Chongwe River Camp, Chongwe House and Kasaka River Lodge in Lower Zambezi. Chris has been instrumental in helping with the forming of Conservation Lake Tanganyika which has been supported greatly by CLZ in setting itself up so that it can start taking the necessary steps to combat the poaching in Lake Tanganyika and Nsumbu. This swim was Chris’ initiative along with some of the other CLZ members and the head of CLT, Craig Zytkow who will also be taking to the waters this week to swim for Nsumbu
Boet Liebenberg, Chris’s father and another man with a passion for preserving Zambia’s conservation and fighting to reduce poaching. Boet will not be joining the swimmers but rather will be part of the support team on standby to administer first aid, spot the crocodiles and assist with anything that needs to be done during the 3- 5 day swim
Greg Paturau is the Proflight pilot who will be flying the Beechcraft Baron with the swimmers to Nkamba Bay, Lake Tanganyika. They stoped in Ndola to refuel and collected the third swimmer, Francois Cuturi. The fourth swimmer, Craig Zytkow was to meet the plane at Nkamba.

“Our “Swim for Nsumbu” event will pit a few brave and concerned people against whatever we face in the lake to bring attention to the plight and needs of Nsumbu National Park. We intend to swim the entire lake boundary of the national park in our efforts to save Nsumbu but we need help in making Conservation Lake Tanganyika a reality. Without an ultimate injection of cash our passion to save this beautiful National park for the benefit of all stakeholders cannot happen,” explained Conservation Lake Tanganyika (CLT).

The organisation aims to promote better conservation practices on Lake Tanganyika for the ultimate benefit of the community residing there and the people of the Republic of Zambia. The areas of Nsumbu National Park and surrounds have been identified as of special concern and this is where efforts are concentrated.

Lake Tanganyika has long been renowned as one of Africa’s most unique and beautiful natural wonders. A biological wonder that is home to 2,000 species of animal life, there are few places that can compare with its unique biodiversity and unparallelled scenery.

Unfortunately a decline in tourism through the 1980s and 90s has lead to an inevitable increase of poaching activities of both terrestrial big game and of fish from within National Park boundaries. This in turn is diminishing Nsumbu’s potential of becoming one of Africa’s great tourism destinations and all the benefits to both conservation and community development that brings about.

“Tourism has been shown to sustain and indeed develop communities in Lower Zambezi, South Luangwa and Mosi-o-Tunya national parks, a large part of this has been the successful implementation and continued existence of fully inclusive wildlife societies like Conservation Lower Zambezi and South Luangwa Conservation Society. We believe that the creation of Conservation Lake Tanganyika can provide a bridge between the immediate needs of the communities that live in the area and the protection that is required to allow a recovery of wildlife for longer term viability,” said CLT.

A dual approach of community involvement and direct resource protection through relevant authorities is being undertaken to maximize the effect and sustainability of all efforts. CLT will ensure all activities and efforts are conducted responsibly in conjunction with the relevant authorities and in a fully accountable manner.

Nsumbu National Park (NNP) and the immediate surrounds are identified as an area highly representative of the wider issues facing Lake Tanganyika as well as having the benefit of an established protected area.  This area has been chosen as the main target area for CLT’s efforts. There is a high diversity of natural habitat relatively undisturbed including some 80kms of the lake shoreline and a highly productive aquatic zone for fisheries. Also within Nsumbu National Park are several endangered ecotypes of vegetation and viable populations of large mammals.

“All these factors present a long term opportunity where conservation can have a lasting positive effect on the local human populations. The overflow effects of preserving the fish stocks within the national park can provide ongoing sustainability to local fishing industries that are otherwise in danger of being depleted. Additionally a national park with healthy wildlife numbers combined with the uniquely spectacular scenery presents an opportunity for growth in tourism that can ultimately provide a new source of direct employment as well as fringe benefits that it can bring about. It is hoped that by improving the resource that tourism relies on (wildlife and fish life), the current small tourism industry can expand,” explained the organisation.

Nsumbu National Park has already been identified by GRZ as a priority area for tourism based development, the government has committed to several infrastructure projects aimed at making NNP more accessible. These include the electrification of prime areas in the NP and Nsumbu, a new access road and bridge from Mbala, and the complete revamp of Kasaba Bay Airport. All projects are expected to reach conclusion during 2012.

For more information on Conservation Lake Tanganyika visit www.conservationtanganyika.org/

About Proflight Zambia

Proflight Zambia was established in 1991 and is the country’s only domestic scheduled airline.

From its base in Lusaka it flies to Livingstone, Mfuwe, Lower Zambezi, Ndola, Solwezi, Chipata, Mansa and Kasama.

The airline prides itself in providing a safe, reliable, efficient and friendly service, and offering good value to business and leisure travellers locally and internationally.

The airline operates two 29-seater Jetstream 41 aircraft;  three 18-seater Jetstream 32’s; two 12-seater Caravan C208; nine-seater Britten Norman Islander; seven-seater Cessna C401/C402; and two five-seater Beech Baron.

More information is available at www.flyzambia.com.

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