Bad news for Zambia’s wildlife as ban on safari hunting is lifted
This Telegraph article explains why the Zambian government have partially lifted their ban on safari hunting – unfortunately, another decision motivated by income from tourism rather than animal welfare.
Photo: © Ann and Steve Toon / Alamy
Zambia has partially lifted a ban on safari hunting because the money earned from it was too lucrative
By Natalie Paris
The ban was first imposed in January last year, according to Sylvia Masebo, the country’s tourism minister at the time, because the country did not have enough cats.
The ban on hunting lions and leopards remains however.
“The cats are gone, and no amount of convincing from any sector or group will convince me otherwise,” she said when imposing the ban initially in 2013. Allegations of corruption in awarding government hunting concessions were rife at the time.
This week however, Jean Kapata, the current tourism minister admitted: “We lost too much revenue following the ban on hunting and the Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) had a lot of financial problems.” She told the AFP news agency that hunting fees will be raised, without providing details.
Lions are found in all of Zambia’s major parks, but their numbers are limited. The total population is thought to be between 2,501 and 4,649.
Readith Muliyunda, a spokesperson for ZAWA, said: “Hunting will be conducted under laid down conditions and strict supervision from ZAWA. But the ban on big cats still stands.”
Zambia’s wildlife tourism trade is not yet as established as that in neighbouring countries. ZAWA had opposed the ban on the grounds that it would be detrimental to the tourism industry.
But shortly before the ban was imposed, ZAWA’s director and senior officials were fired for alleged corruption in the awarding of safari hunting concessions.
Although conservationists had welcomed the ban, hunting groups in the country argued that their sport is more profitable than safari tours.
“Blood sport is more beneficial to this country than game viewing,” said Gavin Robinson of the Professional Hunters Association when the ban was introduced. “People from Europe and America wish to hunt here but they will now move elsewhere, meaning all the clients will leave Zambia.”
Big game hunting, including that of lions, was introduced in South Africa in 2007 and is also common in Botswana, Namibia and Zimbabwe.
Last month, Axelle Despiegelaere, who had recently signed a modelling deal after being spotted in the crowd during the Brazilian World Cup, had her contract with L’Oréal swiftly withdrawn after she posted Facebook pictures of herself hunting wild game in Africa.
Photo credit – Twitter
An American television presenter, Melissa Bachman, provoked the ire of conservationists and members of the general public in November last year when she was photographed posing with a lion she had shot in the country.
South Africa’s game ranching industry is however reportedly worth $1.1bn a year and is credited with boosting the country’s large mammal population.
Story Update: Zambia Claims Reports on Ban Being Lifted Are Incorrect
THE Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) says the hunting ban on elephants and big cats is still in effect contrary to widespread reports in the media that this was not the case.
ZAWA communications and public relations officer Readith Muliyunda said in a statement yesterday that that even before the ban was effected, Zambia was never been a pro-elephant hunting nation
“Contrary to blatant misinformation reports on social media and some sectors of the media that the hunting ban on elephants has been lifted, ZAWA would like to inform members of the public and the international community that this is not the case,” she said.
Ms Muliyunda said even before the ban, hunting of elephants in Zambia had been at the lowest, restricted to two out of the 36 Game Management Areas (GMA’s) namely, Rufunsa and Lupande.
She said the only reason for hunting in these areas was because they were overly populated and causing human wildlife conflicts.
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