Zimbabwe: Zim Safari Hunting Generates U.S $40 Million Per Annum

GOVERNMENT has lifted a country-wide ban on lion, elephant, and leopard hunting that was imposed after the death of Cecil the lion’s death in the hands of an American hunter.

This emerged as the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (ZPWMA) announced that the country’s safari hunting sector was generating US$40 million annually, money that was being reinvested into wildlife conservation.

“We are talking of not less than US$40 million throughout the whole country per annum,” ZPWMA director-general, Edson Chidziya said at a press conference on Friday last week.

The remarks came following the controversial killing of Zimbabwe’s iconic lion Cecil by an American dentist, Walter James Palmer on July 1.

The furore that emerged a few weeks ago following disclosure of the death led to a country-wide ban on hunting.

The parks and wildlife authority also suspended hunting with a bow and arrows, which Palmer had used to injure Cecil before eventually gunning him down a few days later.

Use of bow and arrows will now require permission from the authority’s head.

Trophy hunting experts raised concerns over the loopholes within the country’s wildlife sector indicating that it is subject to manipulation from international hunting syndicates.

The experts are of the view that Zimbabwe is generating less than it should from trophy hunting as international hunters connive with local conservancy operators to undervalue the killing of priced animals.

The American dentist is said to have paid US$55 000 to hunt but it turns out that the lion that he eventually killed was a major tourist attraction in Hwange National Park and it was worth over US$100,000.

Chidziya warned that revenue generated through trophy hunting could dwindle owing to stricter domestic measures and restrictions issued in terms of importation of main tourist attractions such as elephants and lions.

He added that the US$40 million currently realised through safari hunting was being ploughed back into the protection of the animals and conservancies.

“The authority at the moment is self-financing, so every penny that we generate basically goes back to conservation, because we need to put our people on the ground, we need to put boots on the ground to protect the very same species.

“So it includes everything that we do as you know outside the parks estates the Campfire programme is premised heavily in terms of sustainable conservation,” Chidziya said.

It would appear these concerns forced government to lift the ban, imposed on August 2, on hunting, but reports also suggest that the Zimbabwe Professional Hunters and Guides Association (ZPHGA) had privately lobbied government to reconsider its position.

“We are pleased to inform you that, following some useful discussions between operators and the relevant Zimbabwean authorities, the suspension has now been uplifted throughout the country,” a statement by ZPHGA to members said

There are still some exceptions to the lifted ban, namely the farm where Cecil was killed.

It also appears that hunting of ‘collared iconic animals’ is also banned, the statement said.