ZIMBABWE has the capacity to remove an average of 500 elephants worth more than $30 million per year through export or trophy hunting quotas allocated through the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (Zimparks), it has emerged. Wildlife is a lucrative industry across the globe and Zimbabwe is one of the countries with the finest animal species for the enterprise.
Wildlife hunting came under spotlight recently after the killing of the iconic Cecil the lion by an American dentist, Walter Palmer, at Antoinette farm in the Gwayi area, sparked global outcry over conservation concerns.
The dentist-cum-hunter “illegally” killed the Oxford University’s research-monitored lion after paying about $50,000. The matter is pending before the courts.
Every year the Parks and Wildlife Management Authority conducts workshops with wildlife farmers, hunters, local authorities, tour operators and photographers from across the country to decide on the number of wild game to be put on hunting quotas.
Players in the sector met parks officials at Hwange Main Camp on Thursday where they made their presentations and applications for hunting quotas for 2016.
“Different countries have different hunting quotas for different species. In Zimbabwe we’ve a hunting quota for elephants, leopards, cheetahs and crocodiles,” a senior parks official said after the closed door meeting.
“This means we can remove or export certain numbers of species but not exceed a given level. The cap for elephants is 500, leopards 500, crocodiles 200 and cheetahs 50. We’ll conduct a separate meeting to decide quotas for lions.”
Zimbabwe has an elephant population of more than 20,000, according to the 2013 census. Regional estimates indicate elephant hunting can fetch between $50,000 to $100,000 with an average of $25,000 and above for a lion and $17,000 for a leopard.
The parks official said the consultation process with interested parties in the hunting industry was the first stage of acquiring a hunting quota. “The meeting is meant to set sport hunting quotas for the following year to registered properties upon request. As parks we need to know how many animals can be hunted or removed on an annual basis.
“Each farmer brings his/her proposal and reports on what happened in the prior year. We check if the farmer used the given quota fully,” said the official.
“Data captured from the consultative meetings is critically assessed at national level when we look at hunting trends and the animal population.”
The official said the scientific review looks into factors such as poaching, trophy quality and size and aspects of natural mortality and problem animal control in surrounding communities.
Consideration of international regulations governing sport hunting in relation to national laws is also part of the process.
“We use these meetings to share developments in the global hunting industry. After submissions a report is sent to the minister for approval. After that the farmer can start marketing his products,” said the official.
“Any hunting outside this process is illegal, it’s poaching. We’ve conducted meetings in Bulawayo, Chinhoyi, Kwekwe and we will also be going to the Lowveld on Saturday.”
Source: Zimbabwe hunting quotas set (22/08/15)