By ZBC Reporter
ZIMBABWE’S 2021 hunting season has commenced, amid optimism of a gradual rebound of the industry which was severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Trophy hunting has however remained a misunderstood activity due to misconceptions and propaganda peddled by the anti-hunting groups.
Half-truths, images of dead animals, sensationalism and name-calling have over the years been used by groups opposed to hunting to deliberately portray it as cruel, barbaric and a social misfit.
However, professional hunters have described legal trophy hunting as research based and well-regulated.
“There are ethics that we follow when hunting like you don’t have to shoot an animal at a water hole, you don’t have to shoot an animal with young one in attendance and you don’t shoot pregnant animal. Also like l said we will be usually taking old animals which are past their prime. It is all about science. Our ecologists constantly will be monitoring the animals and the ecosystem as well as the populations to assess what is the optimum population each area can handle. So whatever offtake is recommended it will be based on thorough scientific research. After the research they provide offtake quotas per each animal species. Everything is well regulated,” said Sylvan Wachenuka a professional hunter
Hunting is also not just about taking home trophies but a sustainable way of conserving wildlife and unlocking value from wildlife.
“I think it’s a privilege to be able to hunt them (animals) and in so doing there are certain aspects…hunting is for conservation as well. Unfortunately, a lot of people from the Western world do not understand the conservation ethics, the thing we have to do to look after the animals,” said Daniel Van Wyck, a learner professional hunter
Trophy hunting generates an estimated over 200 million United States dollars annually for Sub-Saharan African countries, with United States of America being the biggest importer of wildlife trophies.
While the debate on the morality of trophy hunting rages on and as anti-hunting groups continue to use propaganda to push for a ban of regulated trophy hunting, the local hunting industry has pledged to stand for what they believe in and unite in dispelling misconceptions about hunting.