08 Mar 2016 18:10pm
WINDHOEK, 08 MAR (NAMPA) The Namibian Association of Community Based Natural Resource Management (CBNRM) Support Organisations (Nacso) has thrown its weight behind Government in opposing the banning of trophy hunting and the export of wildlife products.
Nacso Director Maxi Louis in a media statement issued on Monday said the organisation and its members, which include the Integrated Rural Development and Nature Conservation (IRDNC); the Namibia Nature Foundation (NNF) and the Namibia Development Trust (NDT), works with communal conservancies to promote the development of rural communities based upon the principles of sustainable wildlife utilisation.
A ban on the importing of trophies to the United States of America (USA) and European Union (EU) countries would result in a radical decline of hunters visiting Namibia, with a comparable decline in income to conservancies and their members, which in turn is likely to lead to an increase in wildlife crime.
Nacso fully supports the sustainable use of wildlife under legally enforced and controlled conditions, and wishes to bring to the attention of the international community that most conservancy committees with which it works, as well as ordinary conservancy members, are strongly against any ban on conservation hunting, she said.
Cabinet announced last Thursday it has directed the Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) to actively campaign against any attempt to ban or restrict hunting and the export of wildlife products from Namibia.
In supporting the Cabinet decision, Nacso said only selected animals are hunted based on quotas set by the MET, which are agreed on following extensive annual game counts. It also said wildlife numbers have risen in Namibia as a result of community-based conservation.
Louis said conservancies depend heavily on the conservation of wildlife for photographic tourism and conservation hunting of selected animals. Through its natural resources working group, Nacso raised concern that without hunting, conservation would be brought to a close in many communal conservancies that do not have tourism potential. Many depend on the hunting of selected animals for trophies to generate income. That income is used to pay game guards who conduct anti-poaching patrols and to provide benefits to conservancy members, thus uplifting living standards in poorer rural communities, according to Louis.
Meanwhile, concerns and debates around the role of trophy hunting in conservation have been raging since last year when an American big-game hunter killed a lion that was a major attraction in Zimbabwes Hwange National Park. An endangered black rhino was also killed in Namibia. These two incidents triggered demands to ban trophy hunting in Namibia and throughout Africa.
Delta Airlines, British Airways, KLM, Singapore Airways, Lufthansa, Air Emirates, Iberia Airlines, IAG Cargo, and Qantas, amongst others, banned the transportation of hunters' animal trophies during last year. In recent events, the European Parliament also called for the ban on trophy hunting imports into the EU, according to international reports.