Botswana Sustainable Leopard Hunting Initiative

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  1. AFRICAN INDABA

    AFRICAN INDABA CONTRIBUTOR AH Enthusiast

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    Botswana Sustainable Leopard Hunting Initiative
    by Anthony P. Johnson, Director, Lesegolame Game Ranch

    I am a committee member of the Botswana Wildlife Producers Association “BWPA” and am responsible for overseeing the development and execution of our Sustainable Leopard Hunting Initiative.

    The Botswana Department of Wild Life and National Parks (DWNP) traditionally issued 22 leopard hunting permits to game ranches on an ad-hoc basis. The BWPA was concerned that this approach was ecologically unsound and also resulted in an unfair system of allocation

    BWPA therefore contracted Dr Paul Funston of Tswane University, Pretoria as consultant zoologist to advise on a sound alternative method of allocation. In 2008 he recommended that we adopt an age related system similar to the one being used in the Niassa Province of Mozambique for sustainable lion hunting.

    The system works like this:
    1. Game ranches are grouped in geographic areas/regions.
    2. The total quota of 22 is then divided amongst the regions according to the overall area of the region and a rough leopard density factor.
    3. Individual ranches are allocated ‘shares’ according to the area of the ranch - 5000 Ha per share.
    4. Shares are randomly selected for the allocated number of leopards pertaining to that region.
    5. Only adult males may be hunted and a points system is applied that penalizes ranches that shoot females and sub-adult males.
    6. The points system rewards for adult males shot and is calculated in such a way that compliance leads to increased quota and non-compliance leads to reduced quota and penalties applied to the individual ranch that did not comply
    7. The system also allows for ranches to decline using their allocated license if they do not want to hunt a leopard.
    8. The system is also self regulating in so much as less adult leopards will be shot when their numbers decline and more as they increase. This obviates the necessity of expensive and time consuming monitoring of leopard numbers as a basis for hunting quotas.

    The recommendations were submitted to DWNP and adopted by them for the 2009 hunting season. The results demonstrated the effectiveness of the system, which resulted in 3 regions getting reduced quota for 2010 and one an increase. This effectively reduced the number of licenses issued by DWNP to 17. We hope that compliance in 2010 will result in an increase in quota for 2011.

    It is essential that research into the effects of hunting adult males is done by monitoring potential repercussions at population levels, shifts in territorial behavior, etc. and demonstrate where the system needs fine tuning and or adaptations. We are seeking funding for such research. This is the first time that a biological approach has been adopted on a national scale and is highly significant to the future of hunting in Botswana.

    Under CIC Patronage: Sustainable Leopard Hunting in Botswana

    Introduction by Ing. Nikolaus Graf Draskovich MBA, Austrian CIC Delegation

    A number of CIC members have supported in their private capacity a leopard research project in Botswana. I have asked CIC to take patronage for this project as it fits perfectly into CIC´s principles concerning game and wildlife management. This has lead to an agreement of cooperation. CIC´s patronage does not include any financial obligation nor any liability in connection with the project. The patronage should enable the partners to exchange data and promote the project and its results. The advantage of this patronage for the project promoters will be in international recognition and scientific support by a worldwide respected NGO, the benefits for CIC will be in supporting a project perfectly fitting into its principles and into the ongoing process of developing a certification system for sustainable hunting tourism.
     

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