Our EPI Friend of the Month is Albertina Nzuzi of Angola, leads the Angolan Ministry of the Environment on all CITES-related issues, and is part of the government team working hard to stop the trafficking of wildlife products through Angola.
How long have you worked in Angola’s Ministry of the Environment? And what were you doing before?
I’ve worked in this department ever since 1993. I was still a college student then. In fact, this is the only place I’ve ever worked.
Angola is a notoriously difficult country to travel around. Have you had the chance to do so, and see it’s natural glories?
Well in the past it was difficult, but it’s really changed in the last 5 years. I’ve been all over the country, to the provinces of Huambo, Namibe, Uige, Zaire, Cabinda, Moxico, Kuando Kubango, Huila, Benguela, Kuanza Norte, Kuanza Sul, Bengo and Malange. All have wonderful natural landscapes.
Is there a single place in Angola (eg a national park or landscape) that is closest to your heart?
The National Park of Kissama. Because I have visited several times, and I did my undergraduate thesis there.
Angola’s elephant population suffered terribly in decades of war. Are you hopeful for the future?
I believe so. Because there is so much focus on conservation projects, and elephants are a priority in conservation.
For many Angolans surviving and feeding a family is an exhausting struggle. So how do you convince your compatriots to think of conservation?
We have to conserve, for ourselves and future generations. It must be on our conscience; if we want a better life today and in the future, we must conserve and not waste.