Petitions to end trophy hunting worries conservationists

07 Dec 2014 08:40am
WINDHOEK, 07 DEC (NAMPA) – Local conservationists are worried about the future of trophy hunting in the country, as some international animal welfare groups are signing numerous petitions to ban such expeditions.
Trophy hunting is the legal hunting of rare and endangered species that include rhino and elephant.
A website – www.avaaz.org – currently has over 25 300 petitions from people who are calling for the ban on endangered African animal trophy imports from Namibia.
The petition states that the Namibian wildlife is at risk of going extinct, because the animal populations are very low and vulnerable.
“The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) is cooking the books to allow trophy hunting to continue from the most fragile wildlife populations on earth in Namibia. The WWF should be protecting the animals. However, they are openly lying about populations to keep a trophy hunting stance as they control funding streams from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID),” reads the petition.
Proponents thus called on the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to deny import permits for black rhino hunts from Namibia.
The USFWS has already suspended imports of sport-hunted African elephant trophies from Zimbabwe and Tanzania in April this year for failing to end poaching.
At a breakfast meeting organised by the Namibia Association of Community Based Natural Resource Management (CBNRM) Support Organisations (NACSO) on Friday, a community business advisor at the WWF, Richard Diggle, expressed the concern that the banning of trophy hunting could have devastating effects on communities in conservancies.
“There are international threats to ban hunting because of poaching. It might not take long before they find alliances in this country to ban hunting. The voices of communities will collapse, as they (protesters) do not think about communities and conservancies that live off and benefit from this,” he bemoaned.
Namibia has 82 registered conservancies, with 20 more to be registered with the Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) during 2015, according to NACSO Director, Maxi Louis.
During the year 2013, community conservancies generated about N.dollars 72.2 million in returns for local communities. About 6 472 jobs were also created in conservancies during the same year.
Louis said community-based natural resource management has now been widely regarded as an innovative and successful people-oriented approach to conservation.
Namibia also scooped the prestigious Markhor Award in 2012 for her approach to wildlife conservation.
“Community conservation is about managing natural resources sustainably to generate returns for rural people. We have our weaknesses, but also many success stories. So, we still have a long way to go, but the future looks promising,” she stressed.
Trophy hunting remains one of the largest revenue contributors to local conservation.
Sustainable use of wildlife has accorded Namibia the title as world-class best-practice hunting destination.
(NAMPA)
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