Zimbabwe To Start Selling Hunting Rights To Endangered Elephants
Zimbabwe has announced plans to sell rights to hunt endangered elephants in an effort to boost tourism in the area following the coronavirus pandemic.
The country is set to ‘soon’ start selling the rights for as much as $70,000 per animal when the hunting season, which takes place over the southern hemisphere’s winter, resumes this year.
The decision comes less than a month after the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) announced the African forest elephant is now listed as Critically Endangered and the African savanna elephant is listed as Endangered on its Red List of Threatened Species.
Tinashe Farawo, a spokesperson for the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority, said declining tourism revenue was among the main reasons for the decision, though Bloomberg notes that money gained from the rights will also help fund the upkeep of the country’s national parks.
Speaking to CNN, Farawo commented: ‘We eat what we kill. We have a budget of about $25 million for our operations which is raised – partly – through sports hunting, but you know tourism is as good as dead at the moment due to the coronavirus pandemic.’
Those looking to purchase the rights to shoot an elephant will have to pay between $10,000 and $70,000 depending on its size, with kills taking place in hunting concessions rather than the parks often visited by tourists.
Wildlife advocates have hit back at the move, with Simiso Mlevu, a spokesperson for the Center for Natural Resource Governance, a Zimbabwe environmental and human rights advocacy group, describing it as ‘appalling.’
We strongly condemn trophy hunting – a practice that agitates wild animals and escalates human-wild life conflicts.
It is almost certain that surviving families of wildlife families that witness the senseless gunning down of their family members mete out vengeance on the hapless local villagers.
Contrary to government arguments that trophy hunting is meant to assist with conservation, the practice is motivated by greed and often the money is not even accounted for. There is a need for more innovative and eco-friendly measures to improve revenue generation from photo safaris and tourism in general.
Farawo, however, further defended the country’s decision as he questioned how else authorities could fund operations and pay the ‘men and women who spend 20 days in the bush looking after these animals’.
He told Bloomberg: ‘Those who are opposed to our management mechanism should instead be giving us the funding to manage better these animals.’
The IUCN has stressed the need to put an end to poaching, as studies show the number of African forest elephants fell by more than 86% over a period of 31 years, while the population of African savanna elephants decreased by at least 60% over the last 50 years.
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CreditsInternational Union for the Conservation of Nature and 2 others
International Union for the Conservation of Nature