Article on Botswana Bans Hunting

Discussion in 'News & Announcements' started by Steve Scott, Jan 7, 2013.

  1. Steve Scott

    Steve Scott New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2013
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    My Photos:
    1
    Member of:
    NRA, SCI, DSC, WSF, NSSF
    Hunted:
    Cameroon, Tanzania, Zambia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, RSA, Namibia
    Botswana Bans Hunting
    by Steve Scott

    [​IMG]

    Hunting in Botswana will soon be no more.

    After more than six decades of successful sustainable-use wildlife management, Botswana is in the final stages of implementing a country-wide ban on sport hunting to take effect in 2014 - this despite scientific and historical evidence that the prohibition will be highly detrimental to wildlife. When fully employed, the ban may well be the catalyst for decimation of the country's wildlife and habitat, a loss from which it may never recover.

    Botswana's ban on sport and trophy hunting belies the country's past wildlife management success, but the move comes as no surprise to long-time Africa observers with knowledge of the country's unique circumstance among African states.

    A thriving democracy with four decades of uninterrupted civilian leadership, Botswana has invested in significant internal capital improvements with revenues from a stable economy based on mineral extraction, primarily diamonds. Put another way, though still poor by international standards, Botswana is less dependent on foreign exchange than most African countries. But like many govenments of the region, Botswana is not immune to the influence of agenda-driven non-governmental agencies, or NGO's, which may explain its inconsistent wildlife management policies over the past decade or so.

    This "yo-yo" wildlife policy saw lion hunting banned in 2002, reopened again in 2005, then closed once more in 2007. 2009 saw the closure or "repurposing" of some concessions in the game-rich Okavango Delta, while some were left open to hunting. The hunting community suspected this paradoxical wildlife policy was a harbinger of a larger hunting prohibition, and when a full hunting ban was finally announced in late 2012, the only real surprise was the irrational rationale on which the official public explanation was based.

    Justification for the ban came from Minister of Environment, Wildlife, and Tourism Edmont Moabi, who explained, "This comes as a realisation that... shooting of wild game purely for sport and trophies is no longer seen to be compatible with either our national commitment to conserve and preserve local fauna or the long term growth of the local tourism industry."

    Seriously? Questioning legal hunting's contribution to conservation and growth of local tourism by the responsible department's head is a head-scratcher. Big-game hunting has long been a significant portion of Botswana's tourism industry and the foundation of its rural wildlife-based economy. The money contributed by hunters for wildlife and habitat conservation has been instrumental in the growth of Botswana's wildlife populations. And though Minister Moabi's reasoning for the hunting ban contradicts the facts and historical recordク his disingenuous rationale paled in comparison to that of Botswana's chief executive.

    President Ian Khama said the decision not to issue hunting licenses was taken to protect Botswana's fauna, because "hunting licenses encourage poaching."

    Issuing hunting licenses "encourage(s) poaching?" Think about that for a minute. Have you ever heard of a circumstance, ever, where having licensed hunters in the field was an encouragement to criminals to poach game? The president may have well said the world is flat, or 1+1 = 4; the statement is simply not true. Revenue from hunting licenses, i.e. legal hunting, is the best and most important deterrent to poaching in the hunting countries of Africa. Anti-poaching patrols, indigenous employment and meat/feeding programs, and protection of concession-holders' economic interests are just a few of the elements that hunting dollars fund to deter poaching.

    News of the Botswana hunting ban was praised by the usual-suspects of animal rights groups, many of which twisted the findings of the research that was the ultimate justification for the ban.

    Dr. Mike Chase of Elephants Without Boarders conducted an aerial count in 2010 of wildlife in the Okavango Delta. He concluded the populations of some wildlife species had been decimated by hunting, poaching, human encroachment, habitat fragmentation, drought, and veldt fires over the last decade. These research findings found that 11 species had declined by an average of 61 percent since a 1996 survey.

    Dr. Chase reported population declines in ostrich, down 95 percent; wildebeest declined 90 percent, tsessebe down 84 percent; warthogs and kudu off 81 percent; and giraffes fell 66 percent.

    For the sake of argument, let us assume the game counts are accurate. Now, look at the species cited. Ostrich? Giraffe? These are not the game species hunters spend $1,500 per day to pursue in the Okavango. Elephant, buffalo, sitatunga, leopard, and lechwe have been the historic stars of the Delta and the focal species of virtually every hunting safari therein. With the exception of tsessebe, the species listed in Dr. Chase's count are found in abundance in many other areas of southern and east Africa and the historic off-take by tourist hunters in the Delta has been minimal; they are clearly secondary species on Okavango hunts.

    Citing trophy hunting in the same category as poaching, game fences, and drought to justify the hunting ban is like blaming the tissue for your runny nose; it is factual gerrymandering that the media and public have accepted without investigation or question. Yet, independent scientists agree that a decades-long drought, subsequent wildfires, and poaching have been the primary cause of the decline in antelope species in the Okavango. In fact, numbers of game animals like the elephant and hippo were found to be bucking the trend and were actually increasing in the Delta survey.

    Some scientists see the ban for what it is. Dr. Steve Boyes, a National Geographic grantee and a self-avowed anti-hunter stated his views about hunting on the NatGeo website: "The basic fact of the matter is that an animal in the bush has no monetary value. A hunting license instantly gives that same animal a monetary value. In Botswana, the photographic safari industry has been able to add more monetary value for the last 10-15 years. I hope this trend continues and we decide one day to put our guns down and pay the same money to take awesome photographs. Until then we need to be practical and use hunting as a conservation tool where applicable."

    Dr. Boyes is right. When hunting stops, so does the resulting revenue for conservation. At its peak, hunting in Botswana generated more than $20 million annually, more than $6 million of which was hunting license revenue that went directly to the Wildlife Ministry. And in a country where an OVER-population of 50,000-80,000 elephants exists, animal/human conflicts are sure to increase, with massively-reduced budgets left to deal with the consequences.

    Elephants could emerge as the real story of the hunting ban, as their severe overpopulation and the destruction they will bring to the habitat will likely change the ecosystem forever. Botswana only issues about 500 sport hunting licenses per year for a population estimated at 130,000, so hunting's effect on the overall population is minimal. However, the revenue generated by elephant hunting puts people and systems in the bush to help maintain some semblance of order. Without hunting, the population will likely spike and crash, and the anti-hunters will run pleas on television for people to donate $19 a month to "save" the elephants.

    The hunting ban will hurt more than wildlife. The Botswana Wildlife Management Association estimates the ban will leave 4,800 native Africans unemployed and unlikely to find work in photographic tourism.

    As things stand now, the anti-hunting NGO's and influence peddlers have won. Botswana will be permanently closed to hunting in 2014. But like another major safari country that shut its doors to hunters, Botswana's wildlife is destined to suffer the same catastrophic consequences.

    Kenya banned hunting in 1977. Between 1977 and1996, Kenya experienced a 40 percent drop in its wildlife populations, both within and outside of its national parks, according to a study reported in Science Daily. And due primarily to poaching, Kenya's wildlife numbers have continued to fall. Today, wildlife numbers are less than half of that which existed before the ban, with feature species such as lion and elephant being hit especially hard. The benefits from tourist hunting can reverse the trend, but anti-hunting zealots and irresponsible leaders continue to carry the day.

    Trophy hunting is a low-impact, high-income activity that is often carried out in areas too difficult and remote for typical photo safaris, which require large volumes of customers to offset the relatively small fees per client. Hunting creates jobs, food, and an incentive for indigenous peoples to protect species from poachers. Simply stated, sustainable-use hunting is critical to the preservation of both rural economies and Africa's wildlife. Both people and wildlife suffer when hunting is banned.

    The Botswana government may sincerely believe it is doing the right thing, but the emotion-driven, non-scientific based course of action upon which they embark signals the beginning of the end of abundant wildlife in the country. It is likely that in 20 years we will look back with regret to realize that 2013 was the "good old days" for wildlife in Botswana.


    Article I first posted on the NRA site at Closed Season: Botswana Bans Hunting - NRAHuntersrights.org, NRA.
     
  2. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR GOLD BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
    Messages:
    6,999
    Likes Received:
    145
    My Photos:
    396
    Member of:
    KZN Hunters Assoc
    Hunted:
    Namibia, South Africa, Botswana, Canada, USA, Mexico
    This is an over generalization and is in fact false. Hunting will still be allowed on private land.
    So, all sport hunting is not being banned.

    There are proposed bans and they are to effect certain hunting concessions. Sadly we will see the extent of these actions soon enough.
     
  3. AfricaHunting.com

    AfricaHunting.com FOUNDER AH Ambassador

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2007
    Messages:
    5,109
    Likes Received:
    39
    Location:
    USA
    My Photos:
    4887
    Thank you Steve!

    The hunting boundaries in Africa will certainly be a lot different in 20 years...
     
  4. NDwildlifebio

    NDwildlifebio AH Member

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2012
    Messages:
    43
    Likes Received:
    0
    My Photos:
    3
    Member of:
    Boone and Crockett Club, Pope and Young Club, NRA, Mule Deer Foundation, Rocky Mtn. Elk Foundation, Foundation for North American Wild Sheep
    Hunted:
    United States, Canada, South Africa
    Very interesting article that touches on some extremely important points - thanks for posting! Sad to see this ignorant mindset will likely prevail, though!
     
  5. AfricaHunting.com

    AfricaHunting.com FOUNDER AH Ambassador

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2007
    Messages:
    5,109
    Likes Received:
    39
    Location:
    USA
    My Photos:
    4887
    Fingers Off the Trigger: Zambia Cancels All Trophy Hunting Licences

    The link to this article was emailed to me by an AH member...


    Fingers Off the Trigger: Zambia Cancels All Trophy Hunting Licences
    by Ian Michler on January 7, 2013 in Hunting News for Africa Geographic Magazine Blog


    Towards the end of last week Zambian wildlife authorities suspended the tender process for hunting concessions and cancelled all hunting licences for the foreseeable future.

    According to sources and local news reports, Minister of Tourism and Arts Sylvia Masebo has based her decision on corruption and malpractices between the hunting companies and various government departments. She also fired the Director-General of the Zambian Wildlife Authority (ZAWA), Edwin Matokwani, as well as a number of other officials, and has instigated an in-depth criminal investigation of ZAWA and other wildlife bodies.

    According to the Minister, she has received widespread support for her actions.

    There seems to be confusion about the time period involved, with some sources stating that the suspension is only for a year. Others have suggested that the cancellation may be extended to five years in order to allow a thorough review of the hunting industry and the role it plays in Zambia. Sources have also indicated that the authorities are in serious discussions with outside wildlife bodies, with a view to them playing a more significant role in managing Zambia's parks and reserves.

    These actions come just 14 months after the previous board of ZAWA was dissolved by the newly elected president, Michael Sata, and indicate that Zambia has still not rid itself of the cartels that are rumoured to have dominated hunting in that country for decades.

    I would certainly encourage the Zambian authorities to use this opportunity to take a closer look at the Botswana model that has recently stopped trophy hunting altogether. In the long term, photographic options offer far superior benefits at every level.

    These developments are no doubt linked to confirmation earlier in the week that Zambian authorities have also established that foreign-registered light aircraft are involved in smuggling wildlife out of the country. Using small landing strips, these flights also violate Zambian airspace as they are being undertaken without authorised flight plans.

    Readers of Africa Geographic magazine will recall my article, Sable Shenanigans (February 2012) on the 200-plus sable, owned by a South African wildlife breeding and hunting consortium, that still remain corralled outside Lusaka. In that piece, I mentioned the possibility of illegal flights taking young sable calves out of the country as the syndicate was desperate to start making money on their investment in the animals. The sable deal has direct links to the trophy hunting industry - the primary motivation for South African breeders to be involved is to supply sables with longer horns so that hunters will pay higher prices for their kills.

    Given these developments, and the recent changes to the hunting laws in Botswana, it is perhaps appropriate to address the attitude recently expressed by the Vice-Chairman of the Confederation of Hunters Associations of South Africa. In early December, reports in South African newspapers quoted him on the 'misconceptions' the public has of the image of the hunting industry. He went on to state that these are pedalled by 'fringe elements, animal rightist elements' and that 'animal rightists play on emotion'.

    Firstly, how does the Vice-Chairman reconcile his comments on misconceptions with the reality of what is taking place in Zambia right now - and the role of South African operators in Zambia's wildlife affairs for that matter? The articles also quoted him as suggesting that 'a lot could be done to educate the urban public to the reality of hunting'. It is my experience Mr Vice-Chairman that much of the public opinion is based on facts such as those coming from Zambia. If education needs to take place, may I suggest it also include hunters and their clients?

    Which leads into my second point. The Vice-Chairman and the hunting fraternity at large need to start accepting that there is a growing opposition to the practices of trophy hunting, and this is based on a variety of legitimate concerns that cover science and ecology as well as issues involving philosophies, principles and ethics. These are not going to go away - in fact, the questions and opposition will continue to grow.

    And finally, if this type of puerile and reactionary drivel put forward by the Vice-Chairman is going to remain the standard response from so many within the hunting fraternity to legitimate questions on what they do and how they do it, then we will see the end of trophy hunting far sooner than those that pull the triggers would wish.


    About Ian Michler
    This former stockbroker left the world of finance in 1989 to live and work in the wilderness, where he spent 17 years (mainly in the Okavango Delta, Botswana) steeped in the world of safari lodges, guiding and photojournalism. Now operating as a guide in southern and East Africa's wildest areas, he leads groups whose interests range from big game, birding and photography to cultural and adventure safaris. As a photojournalist, Ian writes predominantly for Africa Geographic and Africa Birds & Birding, two of the continent's leading nature-based magazines. His popular monthly column in Africa Geographic explores topics such as conservation, wildlife management and travel. He has been involved in the production of various natural history television documentaries and contributes to education on ecotourism and conservation at the University of Cape Town.


    Source: Africa Geographic Magazine Blog
     
  6. James.Grage

    James.Grage GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2010
    Messages:
    2,570
    Likes Received:
    41
    My Photos:
    73
    Member of:
    NRA, ATA, PITA, NAHC, NAFC, DU, TU, DSC, SCI, RMEF
    Hunted:
    USA - Canada -Tanzania, South Africa, Zimbabwe
    Steve & Jerome

    good posts...
     
  7. Bobpuckett

    Bobpuckett GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2009
    Messages:
    3,876
    Likes Received:
    31
    Location:
    Russellville
    My Photos:
    27
    Member of:
    NAHC Life Member, NRA Life Member,SCI, Buckmasters
    Hunted:
    USA(from Coast to Coast and Alaska), Germany, South Africa, Canada
    Great Post and I was wondering is there private land in bots where Elephant will still be hunted I think for the most part Bots will become a PG country on Private land only because the farms there will not be able to survive without there fenced areas. Thanks Steve and Jerome for posting this great info.
     
  8. Wolverine67

    Wolverine67 AH Fanatic

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2011
    Messages:
    539
    Likes Received:
    0
    My Photos:
    21
    Member of:
    SCI, SHAC, RW Guild
    Hunted:
    Norway, Sweden, Poland, South Africa
    Interesting post. Though hunting on private land will continue in Botswana, I fear it could be the beginning of a prosess as it happened in Kenya. If the NGO's get a finger I fear they soon take the arm. Since Botswana are a more developed democracy, it is to hope more pragmatic forces will take over soon.
     
  9. SA Hunting Outfitters

    SA Hunting Outfitters AH Senior Member

    Joined:
    May 28, 2012
    Messages:
    46
    Likes Received:
    0
    My Photos:
    10
    Member of:
    SCI, PHASA, CHASA, KZN Hunting and Conservation Association, African Bowhunters Association.
    Hunted:
    South Africa, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Namibia, Swaziland.
    Correct hunting on private land will continue, HOWEVER there is ZERO private land in the Delta. Leopard and Lion are banned even on privately owned game ranches.

    The prime wildlife areas in my opinion is in the Delta by leaps and bounds!!!!
     

Share This Page