NAPHA Press Release
NAPHA Press Release
October 9th, 2009
We at NAPHA, the Namibian Professional Hunting Association, are proud of our country, our clients and our members who are committed to ethical hunting. Namibia is one of the few countries in the world where government and the hunting industry work closely together. In Namibia sport hunting is widely accepted and approved and our visiting hunters are treated well. In hindsight we realize that, unfortunately our press release of September 23 created several impressions that worked against us. We would like to correct those impressions and set the record straight.
First, some background on the issue of hunting big cats: On April 24 and June 15 this year, the Namibian Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET, which has jurisdiction over our hunting industry) issued moratoriums, first on cheetah and then on leopard, for the issuing of trophy hunting permits. The export quotas for these two species had been met for the year. MET’s decision was supported by NAPHA, although several Trophy Hunting Operators had to inform clients of this on short notice.
Meanwhile, word of unscrupulous and possibly illegal leopard hunting began to reach us. NAPHA’s Executive Committee called a Special General Meeting, on July 31, of the membership to discuss the leopard and cheetah situation. An overwhelming majority voted to request MET to temporarily suspend hound hunting, and to draft better guidelines for fair-chase pursuit of these animals.
Second, our public perceived threats: We should not have invoked the US Fish Wildlife Service, the America’s Lacey Act or any other international authorities or laws. It was not our intention to threaten or single out any specific nationality of hunting client. A trophy that was taken unlawfully in Namibia, could in turn, trigger local laws in whatever country the illegal trophy is shipped to.
Third, visiting hunters are not responsible for knowing Namibia’s trophy hunting laws and regulations in detail. We agree that they must be able to put themselves in the hands of our qualified and registered Namibian Hunting Professionals and have the confidence that these laws will be kept.
Fourth, NAPHA itself: We are a not-for-profit, member-run trade association, not an arm of government, and we have no legal authority. Since 1974 we have sought to protect the right to hunt by establishing guidelines for fair chase and by advising government on game and land-use laws to sustain our wild species. Membership is voluntary and today the majority of Namibia’s Hunting Professionals belong to the association. In order to join NAPHA, Hunting Professionals are required to provide proof that they fulfill all the required criteria to operate in Namibia - this is one of the many benefits of booking with a NAPHA member. We are the only group that represents the private sector of the trophy hunting industry in Namibia.
Hunting Professional certification in Namibia is awarded by MET, not by NAPHA. There are legitimate Hunting Professionals in Namibia, who are not members of NAPHA. Disagreements can occur in any group of people, and some individuals are not “joiners.” It is not our intention to force people into our association. It is our intention, however, to get everyone in our country to play according to the rules in order to safeguard hunting for the future.
Illegal hunting became a fact of life from the moment the first game laws were enacted, centuries ago. Since then it’s been an ongoing battle, with standards continually evolving. Today Namibia has some of the most sane and sensible game laws on earth—and, as a direct result, some of the best trophy hunting. However, as long as there are hunting clients who want certain trophies at any cost and by any means, there will be Hunting Professionals willing to deliver, even here in Namibia.
The present furor has come about because we take these matters seriously and because we want to inform people about the possible pitfalls of hunting in Namibia with illegal, non-qualified and unregistered outfitters conducting unlawful and unethical hunting.
However, our original statement was too harsh; we apologize. With hunting under pressure in so many places, we cannot afford to create divisions within our own ranks—especially concerning matters that most hunters agree on. Response from around the world showed us this, and is helping to guide our actions. We appreciate the feedback.
Our goals here are self-regulation within Namibia and open communication with the international community—for the sake of our superb trophy hunting.
NAPHA Executive Committee
NAPHA overreached with the first press release and now has had to retract it and quickly release this follow up.
But this isn't over yet. The new statement does not actually rule out any actions they declared in the first memo.
In my opinion they have no choice but to unequivocably state that they will not be party to reporting any visiting hunter to foreign authorities under any circumstances. They just need to give that little bit of perceived power up to start the healing process.
Now let's say they don't and sometime next year an American hunter gets reported to USFG (it won't be me as I will be in Zim).
If you think the current reaction was negative, it would pale in comparison to what you would then be facing. And NAPHA would have zero goodwill left when they needed it most to try and fix it. It could throw the Namibian hunting industry completely on its head.
If I had a hunting operation or associated career in Namibia I would not think it is worth the financial risk to give the NAPHA leadership the authority or responsibility to do this. Even if they are technically and legally in the right if it is perceived as unfair the damage will be the same.
Leave the intra governmental communications to the governments.
Originally Posted by JohnHunt
I personally couldn't disagree with you more. As an American living overseas I see daily examples of one government or organization reporting back to a similar organization in the US. With all the discourse on just this website referring to the quality of training for professional hunter, I am truly amazed anyone would venture into another country to hunt without consulting the basic rules that apply. I've never hunted a foreign country that I didn't research the basic rules of what is allowed. Simple inquiries like can we hunt at night or not are easily sorted out with a minimal amount of effort.
Personally I always felt that if you don't break laws you won't have anything to worry about. If these two Americans the article refers to claim they were ignorant of the law as it applied to them, I would equate this to being no more effective a defense than saying “but officer I didn’t know that was the speed limit”.
It really doesn't matter if you agree or not, or if I agree or don't agree. Frankly if they pull that trigger after issuing the previous press release threatening Americans specifically it will devastate there hunting industry. People will feel (correctly or not) that they violated the intent of the revised press release and will respond accordingly.
Originally Posted by Macs B
It would be a dangerous place to go and they should leave any such decision and action up to the Namibian government itself.
And I have spent half my life in a foreign country, just 3 or 4 hours north of where you are probably.
NAPHA apparently has modified the statement it made in the 9 October post that started this thread. It now says the USFWS "may" hear about a violation.
I have tried to keep up with the wildlife laws of the countries I've hunted, but there is no way to know everything that is prohibited before going someplace to hunt. Like it or not, I am at the mercy of the person I hire to guide me and keep me law-abiding.
For that reason, although I will make every effort to avoid breaking a law, I also will avoid any country with a trade group that makes threats such as NAPHA has done.
Bill Quimby. . . I agree with you.