Friday, January 29, 2016

Wildlife Park Wardens – Train them as the CEO of the park and there will be an immediate improvement.

Park Wardens should empowered to run their parks for a period of time say 5 years, and their performance judged in a similar way that Estate Superintendents are evaluated. Not only will they responsible for Revenue but also the P&L account of the Park.

Like the large Estate Companies there are rules that the Superintendents have to adhere to, and within them they are allowed certain freedom to operate, and there are performance measurements that can be used to garner their ability and bonuses and rewards can be given accordingly.

One area that has not been explored are night safaris, as they are deemed to be an infringement of the animals freedom. I know Park Rangers in almost all the parks, and know the abundant wildlife that come out at night, and can be seen on full moon or through night vision goggles. I propose 5 nights a month be reserved for two parties each with a maximum of 5 persons per party, for a limited 5 hour period, charging Rs10,000 per head for a night safari, be it local or foreign. This will minimize interference but add Rs 500,000 a month to the coffers which can be used for a specific purpose in improving the viewing experience.  

Only they will know where if any a inside park bungalow can be built, and submit proposal for its construction, along with all the environmental safeguards to protect both man and animal leaving no carbon footprint.

Most importantly NO POLITICAL INTERFERENCE can be tolerated be it on jobs in the service, or transfers or even special privileges, as that is what is holding back capable people from taking on these challenges, and you are just left with typical Govt. servants who will make a bee line home each week to be their families, spending as little time in the Parks as they can, as they know their performance cannot be measured in any satisfactory way and promotions and transfers are politically motivated!

Maintenance of the jeep tracks is very important, and even here, it takes too much paperwork to request improvements that can take place years after the originator has left the park being transferred elsewhere. So there is NO accountability and therefore no one is bothered.

As seen from above, the whole system is a shambles. Examples from South African Private Game Parks should be emulated, where sustainability is a must for them to survive, ensure species survival and an incredible tourist experience.     

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