Muchinguri says ban on safari hunting costing Zimbabwe dearly


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The ban on trophy hunting in Zimbabwe imposed after the killing of Cecil the Lion by an American dentist Walter Palmer is costing Zimbabwe dearly as communities that benefit from legal hunting have been deprived of a source of funds to buy food and pay school fees for their children, Environment Minister Oppah Muchinguri told Parliament on Wednesday.

She said Zimbabwe had to impose the ban while at the same time arguing its case that trophy hunting was legal in Zimbabwe to protect its standing with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species ( CITES) which is meeting next year.

The government also wanted to investigate illegal hunting in the Gwayi area where Cecil was killed.

“As a stop gap measure, we imposed a temporary ban which was subsequently followed by an imposed ban on trophy exportation from Zimbabwe. For that reason, we realised that it would affect our standing at CITES which is taking place next year because most of the hunters are from the United States and we were forced to link up with some Wildlife Association in order to promote our position as Zimbabwe. Putting our case that sport hunting was legal in Zimbabwe,” Muchinguri told Parliament in response to a question from Hwange East Member of Parliament Wesley Sansole who wanted to know whether the ban had been lifted and the impact of the ban on revenues.

“The United States ban of the exportation of trophies was also promoting a lot of poaching within the Gwayi area and also within Hwange National Park. In sport hunting, one elephant would cost $120 000.00, it means therefore that resources mobilised would be ploughed into developing infrastructure, and also to assist communities in paying school fees and also buying food. Surrounding communities lose their crops to these wild animals. The ban is depriving communities with the much needed resources and starved our conservation and preservation of programmes.”

Muchinguri initially said that Zimbabwe would like Palmer to be extradited for trial but later said it would not prosecute the American hunter.

Palmer’s Zimbabwean guide Theo Bronkhorst, a professional hunter, is, however, facing charges and was remanded to 20 November.

Sixty percent of the hunters that come to Zimbabwe are from the United States.

The trophy hunting industry generates between $40 and $100 million a year.

 

Q & A:

 

HON. SANSOLE: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My question is directed to the Minister of Environment, Water and Climate. I would like the Hon. Minister to inform the House on whether the ban on the safari hunting of lions, elephants and leopards has been lifted following the death of Cecil the lion – [Laughter] – if so, can you inform the House whether the ban has an impact on revenue inflows from the safari hunting industry, given that the industry generates about US$40 million per annum. Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.

THE MINISTER OF ENVIRONMENT, WATER AND CLIMATE (HON. MUCHINGURI): Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir. I would like to thank the Hon. Member for that very important question, suffice to mention that we had to resort to the ban of sport hunting after we realised that there were a lot of illegal spot hunting activities along the Gwayi area, and we were worried that those that have conservancies and border with Hwange National Parks were not following the laid down procedures as dictated by the Parks and Wildlife Act. Mr. Speaker Sir, can I be protected from those making noise – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjection.] –

HON. SPEAKER: You have my protection.

HON. MUCHINGURI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. As a result of those illegal activities that were happening in the area as reported by newspapers and the various media entities two farmers in the area, Mr. Ndlovu and Mr. Sibanda, who own conservancies, were used to carry out the illegal hunts when they did not have the relevant papers. As a result of the killing of Cecil the lion, there was so much outcry, not only here in Zimbabwe but Internationally of a lion that we had taken care of for thirteen years, only to be lost from a hunt from bow and an arrow. We therefore, decided as a Ministry to carry out investigations to establish the activities that were taking place in that area. We also looked at the involvement of the communities in the area, in poaching and also illegal activities that were taking place.

The Ministry also looked at the porous border which covers Zambezi river which at the moment is almost 20% full and many poachers that are crossing the river into Hwange National Park. As a Ministry, we were having problems of conservation and preservation and we embarked on investigations to establish what was happening in the Gwayi area. As a stop gap measure, we imposed a temporary ban which was subsequently followed by an imposed ban on trophy exportation from Zimbabwe. For that reason, we realised that it would affect our standing at CITES which is taking place next year because most of the hunters are from the United States and we were forced to link up with some Wildlife Association in order to promote our position as Zimbabwe. Putting our case that spot hunting was legal in Zimbabwe. The United States ban of the exportation of trophies was also promoting a lot of poaching within the Gwayi area and also within Hwange National Park. In spot hunting, one elephant would cost $120 000.00, it means therefore that resources mobilised would be ploughed into developing infrastructure, and also to assist communities in paying school fees and also buying food. Surrounding communities lose their crops to these wild animals. The ban is depriving communities with the much needed resources and starved our conservation and preservation of programmes. Thank you.

(39 VIEWS)

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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