Nhema asked US to support continued elephant hunting


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Environment and Tourism Minister Francis Nhema asked United States ambassador to Zimbabwe Christopher Dell to persuade Washington to allow Zimbabwe to continue hunting its elephant because unlike its northern colleague Kenya, its conservation campaign has resulted in the country having more elephants than it could carry.

Kenya had asked the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) to ban all elephant hunting and trade in elephant products for 20 years.

Nhema said elephant hunting contributed about US$12 million of the US$40 million revenue generated directly by trophy hunting in Zimbabwe.

The majority of hunters that came to Zimbabwe were from the US and country’s hunting capacity was fully booked for the next four years.

Dell admitted that Nhema made a compelling argument in opposition to the Kenyan proposal for a ban on elephant hunting.

 

Full cable:


Viewing cable 07HARARE469, GOZ SEEKS USG SUPPORT TO CONTINUE ELEPHANT HUNTING

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

07HARARE469

2007-05-30 09:54

2011-08-30 01:44

UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO9710

PP RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSB #0469/01 1500954

ZNR UUUUU ZZH

P 300954Z MAY 07

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY PRIORITY

RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1533

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

RUEHUJA/AMEMBASSY ABUJA 1611

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 1478

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 1615

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 0880

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 1243

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 1671

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 4077

RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 1440

RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 2098

RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 0738

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 1832

RHMFISS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC

RUEHC/DEPT OF LABOR WASHDC

RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC//DHO-7//

RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC

RUFOADA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK//DOOC/ECMO/CC/DAO/DOB/DOI//

RUEPGBA/CDR USEUCOM INTEL VAIHINGEN GE//ECJ23-CH/ECJ5M//

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 000469

 

SIPDIS

 

SENSITIVE

SIPDIS

 

AF/S FOR S. HILL

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR B. PITTMAN

STATE PASS TO USAID FOR M. COPSON AND E.LOKEN

TREASURY FOR J. RALYEA AND T.RAND

COMMERCE FOR BECKY ERKUL

ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU

ADDIS ABABA FOR ACSS

 

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: SENV ETRD PREL PGOV ZI

SUBJECT: GOZ SEEKS USG SUPPORT TO CONTINUE ELEPHANT HUNTING

UNDER CITES

 

 

——-

Summary

——-

 

1. (SBU) In a May 25 meeting with the Ambassador,

Environment and Tourism Minister Francis Nhema sought our

support for Zimbabwe’s opposition to a proposal by Kenya to

the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species

(CITES) to ban all elephant hunting and trade in elephant

products for 20 years. Nhema noted the large and growing

size of Zimbabwe’s elephant population, the conservation

benefits of elephant trophy hunting, and the revenue that it

generated. End Summary.

 

——————————————-

Sustainable and Controlled Elephant Hunting

——————————————-

 

2. (SBU) In a meeting with the Ambassador at the Ministry of

Foreign Affair’s request, Minister Nhema described Zimbabwe’s

well-protected population of about 100,000 elephants and the

practice of trophy hunting under Zimbabwe’s 500-elephant per

year CITES quota. He said the Kenyan proposal to CITES, up

for vote at the June 3-15 CITES meeting in the Netherlands,

was ostensibly intended to eliminate poaching, but that

elephant poaching in Zimbabwe had fallen steadily to about

100 animals per year as a result of Zimbabwe’s progressive

policies.

 

3. (SBU) Nhema credited the conservation successes to good

wildlife management by the Parks and Wildlife Management

Authority in the national parks, and to the success of the

Communal Areas Management Programme for Indigenous Resources

(CAMPFIRE) on communal land. The widely acclaimed CAMPFIRE

program, begun in the mid-1980s, encouraged rural communities

to take ownership of local wildlife resources and benefit

from conservation-associated employment, shared trophy

revenue for community projects, and the controlled provision

of much needed protein from the hunt. Nhema said elephant

hunting in Zimbabwe helped reduce rural poverty and improve

rural living standards and the success of the program had led

local communities to assume a sense of ownership in

anti-poaching efforts.

 

—————–

For a Tidy Profit

—————–

 

4. (SBU) Nhema said trophy hunting financed the Parks and

Wildlife Management Authority,s conservation budget. He

added that it also provided employment and revenue. Elephant

hunting contributed about US$12 million of the US$40 million

revenue generated directly by trophy hunting in Zimbabwe.

(N.B. the trophy fee for a bull elephant is US$10,000, and

the “daily rate” is US$1,000 with a minimum 21-day length of

hunt.) On communal land, Nehma said that 95 percent of

CAMPFIRE revenue came from hunting, and about 60 percent of

that arose from elephant hunting. Moreover, secondary

industries, such as taxidermy services, freight forwarding

 

HARARE 00000469 002 OF 002

 

 

and modest-scale ivory manufacturing also benefited from

elephant hunting.

 

5. (SBU) Nhema added that Zimbabwe accumulated about 13 t of

ivory per year, primarily from natural mortality and

problem-animal control. Except for confiscated ivory, he

said the ivory was sold to registered local dealers and

refined into CITES certified game products for the domestic

market.

 

———

U.S. Role

———

 

6. (SBU) Finally, Nhema said the majority of hunters came to

Zimbabwe from the U.S. and many were repeat visitors. He

said this year’s annual international hunting convention in

Reno, Nevada in January had been a huge success and that the

country’s hunting capacity was fully booked for the next four

years. The Minister expressed gratitude to the Ambassador

for support from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 2006

in monitoring Zimbabwe’s elephant population.

 

7. (SBU) The Ambassador responded to Nhema’s presentation

with a promise to convey the Minister’s views to Washington

and to subsequently inform him of the U.S. position with

respect to the proposed ban.

 

——-

Comment

——-

 

8. (SBU) In our view, Nhema made a compelling argument in

opposition to the Kenyan proposal for a ban on elephant

hunting. The fact is that unlike many of its African

neighbors, Zimbabwe has done a good job of conserving its

wildlife and especially its elephant population; to the point

where the herd has grown beyond the carrying capacity of

Zimbabwe’s natural habitat. Elephant hunting poses no risk

to the elephant population in Zimbabwe and moreover makes

important contributions to wildlife conservancy in Zimbabwe.

While there are some concerns about illicit trade in ivory by

Chinese nationals, the sale of elephant trophies on communal

land under the guise of “problem-animal control,” and

conservancy ownership issues arising from fast-track land

reform that we will address septel, nevertheless, the Parks

and Wildlife Management Authority of Zimbabwe remains one of

the most professional on the continent and is increasingly

dependent on the revenue generated from elephant hunting.

Without that revenue, the Authority and wildlife conservation

in general would take serious hits, ironically leading to an

increase in the poaching that the proposal is ostensibly

designed to deter.

DELL

 

(5 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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