Botswana: Investor calls for increase in trophy hunting quota

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Oct 1, 2007
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Botswana: Investor calls for increase in trophy hunting quota
by Monkagedi Gaotlhobogwe

A millionaire investor in trophy hunting in the Okavango and Chobe has questioned a recent aerial view study by Elephant Without Borders.

Harry Charalambous, a Motswana of Greek origin has called for an increase in quota for game hunting in the area, saying it attracts billionaires from Europe and America to Botswana. He said he hosts Russian billionaire and Chelsea owner, Roman Abromovich every year for trophy hunting in Botswana. Charalambous pays approximately P10 million a year to four community trusts in Chobe, Sankuyo, Mababe, and Okavango from proceeds earned from trophy hunting.

However he thinks Botswana can still do more, by increasing its wildlife quota to attract trophy hunters and increase returns.
Charalambous has observed that during the hunting season, when he drives his clients around for sport hunting, there is minimal poaching because the areas are patrolled by his game scouts and wildlife officers. The hunting seasons lasts from April to September.

He told Mmegi recently that he is aware that the President Ian Khama is not a fan of trophy hunting and is being lobbied by other interest groups to ban it in Botswana in favour of photographic safari.

Charalambous has just returned from a fact finding mission in Namibia as the chairman of the Botswana Community Based Natural Resources Management (CBNRM). In Namibia, he learnt that conservancies have trophy hunting all year round and sell game meat to butcheries. Despite what seems to be a high rate of hunting and killing of wild animals, Namibia reports that its wildlife continue to increase at a good rate.

Charalambous said that Botswana should borrow a leaf from Kenya which stopped wildlife hunting in the 1990s but still continue to experience dwindling animal numbers. He said Botswana is lagging behind in its wildlife management strategy by aiming to phase out trophy hunting in favour of photographic safari.

Charalambous has applied for trophy hunting licences in Tanzania and Mozambique where restrictions are more friendlier than in Botswana. In Tanzania the Botswana businessman said he has been given two concessions for hunting, fishing and photography. In another concession, Tanzania has given him a licence to kill 100 buffaloes.

In Mozambique, he said he will be hunting hippos, lions, leopards and sables, although the quota there is very small.

"In Tanzania, one of the requirements from the operator is that he got to have an anti-poaching team, and a lot of companies comply with that requirement, resulting in reduced poaching activities," he explained.

He said trophy hunting attracts more tourists and earns more money than photographic tourism, which he also operates. He said people must understand that trophy hunters usually target mature beasts.

"A good trophy is usually the old bigger species, so we don't affect the numbers, hunting has no impact whatsoever on the size of wildlife," he told Mmegi.

He does not have nice words for Dr Mike Chase, the Elephant Without Borders' researcher who recently published a report showing that many wildlife species in the Okavango are in danger of extinction. He said the wildlife researcher, should not have reached that conclusion so fast, after doing his survey just once. "He should have done it three times, as well as comparing the situation in wet seasons. Because in my view there are many factors that can result in certain results. What if some species were pushed further from the delta by the floods, or human habitation or the fires?

He said trophy hunting can be used to control wildlife population. He asserted that many of the species that are said to be drastically declining are not usually targeted by trophy hunters. "In Botswana we don't hunt cats, setunga, sable, waterbucks, while a small number of zebras are being hunted, yet these species populations are said to be very small," he stressed.



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Jan 18, 2009
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Personally I think this whole deal is bogus. The Okavango is supposed to be one of the worlds game rich areas. If the game is so close to extinction how are they ever going to run photo safaris. You won't see numerous game. It appears as though the tree huggers are in bed with the Botswana government & in afew years will be in the same shape as kenya. It's sad!!

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