Restrictions on hunting has huge economic losses: Shifeta

26 Sep 2016 12:10pm
WINDHOEK, 26 SEP (NAMPA) – The loss of economic incentives for conservation through trade restrictions or pressure on hunting will lead to significant economic loses and an increase in poverty.
Minister of Environment and Tourism, Pohamba Shifeta expressed these sentiments during the 17th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 17) to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in Johannesburg, South Africa on Friday.
“I strongly believe that a call to ban sustainable [trophy] conservation hunting or new unreasonable measures that would unduly restrict hunting will reduce the value of game species to their meat value and private landowners will have to reduce their game numbers in order to increase cattle numbers in an attempt to substitute the loss of income,” he noted in a media statement issued on Friday.
In 1996, Namibia passed legislation to empower local communities to actively manage and benefit from both the consumptive and non-consumptive sustainable utilisation of wildlife through the formation of community conservancies.
Namibia has 82 community conservancies and Government has not only translocated wild animals to these areas, but also granted local communities rights of ownership over those natural resources.
Trophy hunting and the sustainable use of wildlife in Namibia is done with the aim to encourage wildlife recoveries and environmental restoration in communal areas. Amongst other initiatives, the controlled trophy hunting in community conservancies has contributed to the growth of the national elephant population from 7 500 in 1995 to around 23 000 in 2016. A large percentage of these elephants are outside formal protected areas.
In 2014, Namibia’s Community Based Natural Resources Management Programme contributed about N.dollars 530 million in national income, of which N.dollars 87 million was generated directly for the benefit of rural communities.
Annually, 6 500 to 7 000 jobs are created and maintained through this programme.
The COP 17 meeting commenced on 24 September and ends on 05 October 2016. It is expected to make decisions on what additional measures are needed to end illicit wildlife trafficking.