06 Apr 2016 15:10pm
WINDHOEK, 06 APR (NAMPA) - The Zambezi Regional Governor has called on the European Parliament to do extensive research on the benefits rural Namibians, who protect and preserve wildlife, derive from trophy hunting.
In a letter dated 01 April 2016 addressed to European Members of Parliament, Governor Lawrence Sampofu stated that the Zambezi Regional Council has been informed about the plans of European MPs to vote for a ban on trophy hunting products entering the European Union (EU).
The letter was availed to the media by the Namibian Association of Community Based Natural Resource Management (CBNRM) Support Organisations (Nacso).
The results speak for themselves - since conservancies were established starting in the late 1990s, we have seen dramatic increases in the populations of wildlife in our region, including key species such as lions and elephants. Over the past two decades, the citizens of this region in partnership with the Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) have worked hard to secure a future for wild animals in our region, Sampofu wrote.
Trophy hunting in the region generated more than Euros 1.1 million (about N.dollars 17 million) in 2015 alone.
The European Parliament on 24 February 2016 had a discussion on trophy hunting. The discussion in Brussels concluded that Europe needs to be a key player in the fight against wildlife crime globally. There was also a call for a complete ban on trophy hunting imports into the EU or for current legislation to be tightened, according to international reports.
Sampofu further stated that wildlife was seen as the property of the State and any use of wildlife or their products by communities was strictly forbidden prior to the countrys independence in 1990. Consequently, the best use of wildlife was meat for consumption. But the post-independent Governments progressive conservancy legislation has allowed rural communities to obtain the rights to manage and benefit from wildlife.
In the Zambezi Region, if trophy hunting was to stop then 16 conservancies representing 30 632 adults covering 3 896 square kilometres would lose their most important source of income and in our region alone, 91 permanent and 71 temporary jobs would be lost.
If the EU was truly committed to conservation, then we would urge you to further investigate the evidence that demonstrates how hunting has played a very critical role in securing sustainability through conservation, rather than threatening it, he added.
The EUs written declaration on trophy hunting, under Rule 136 of that Parliament's Rules of Procedure, amongst others said trophy hunting contributes to the loss of iconic species and claims that proceeds from trophy hunting benefiting conservation and local communities have been debunked by scientists.
It also said the EU is a major source of trophy hunters and a frequent destination for trophies. Between 2004 and 2013, over 27 000 trophies originating from Africa and America were imported into Europe.
Clearly, the current rules are insufficient and inadequately applied. The Council and the Commission are called upon to examine the possibility of restricting all trophy imports, to ensure proper implementation of the rules by Member States, and to persuade countries that are issuing permits to trophy hunters without due consideration for the impacts of trophy hunting on conservation and animal welfare to discontinue this practice, it says.
It would become the basis of a process to stop the importation of hunting trophies into the EU. This method has been applied successfully before, for example, in the case of a complete ban on seal products.
The written declaration was made public on 18 January 2016 and can be signed by MPs until 18 April 2016.