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Africa urged to unite against ban on hunting trophies

Africa urged to unite against ban on hunting trophies

Story by Mhlomuli Ncube

Experts and community leaders involved in wildlife management programmes say the West is still caught up in a colonial conservation system, hence the need for Africa to unite in resisting the proposed UK law to ban hunting trophies.

The last elephant census in Southern Africa was conducted in the Kavango-Zambezi Trans-Frontier Conservation Area (KAZA), and revealed that the region has 235 000 jumbos.

It has been established that the figure is a result of deliberate and well-managed conservation programmes such as Zimbabwe’s Campfire, and the Community Based Research Management in Namibia, among many others.

The West, led by the United Kingdom is however pushing for a ban on hunting trophies, a move which has been explained in the context of a colonial hangover.

Assistant professor for Okavango Research Institute, Professor Richard Fynn said, “They know they can’t influence legislation in Africa now. So, they are turning to emotional stances like wanting to ban trophy imports. It is a product of colonial legacy where they think they can still control our wildlife even from European capitals.”

There is also a clear appreciation that every African country with a wildlife economy must be part of the thrust to fight the envisaged bill.

Ngamiland Council of NGOs representative, Mr Letlhogonolo Kamuti said, “Wildlife knows no geographical boundaries. They cross countries and go everywhere. This means our challenges are the same, in short, this is an African problem.”

A seasoned reasearcer in the field of wildlife management, Professor Joseph Mbaiwa proffers a strategy on how to fight back.

“Years ago, Presidents of Zimbabwe, Botswana, Zambia, Angola, and Namibia met at KAZA. They spoke with one voice on issues affecting the region. This is exactly what is needed again. SADC must go on a diplomatic drive internationally to fight this proposed bill. African countries also need to fight against this bill with facts and scientific evidence. Those advocating for trophy ban are just being emotional while we have done studies to show that trophy hunting does not only benefit communities, but also enhanced conservation programmes,” he said.

Experts are also convinced that with evidence-based findings, the biggest losers in the proposed ban are communities with wildlife endowments, which are mostly in Africa.

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