By MAIMBOLWA MULIKELELA –
GOVERNMENT has with immediate effect lifted the suspension on safari hunting which was slapped last year due to flaws in the tender process.
Tourism and Arts Minister Jean Kapata said the Government had decided to lift the ban in order to avoid erosion of the sense of ownership of animals and reduction of vigilance which could result in a worsened poaching situation.
Ms Kapata explained that hunting in the 19 blocs was suspended last year in January due to the inability to select outfitters in these blocs, arising from flawed in the tender process.
Further, hunting of lions and other cats was banned on the understanding that their population was depleted to such low levels that was not sustainable to hunt them anymore.
Addressing Journalists in Lusaka yesterday, Ms Kapata said as result of the suspension, the Government had to supplement the Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) with resources to manage their operation.
“ZAWA has lost huge amounts of money as result of the ban. It must also be borne in mind that the reduction of operational income to ZAWA arising from the prolonged suspension of hunting has put a strain on the Government that has had to supplement ZAWA’s shortfall in revenue,” Ms Kapata said.
She, however, could not disclose how much revenue ZAWA had lost during the suspension period.
The minister said it was important for the hunters to note that the suspension of cat hunting shall remain in force until a survey to ascertain their numbers, plus other considerations and measures to ensure their sustainability are in place.
Ms Kapata said to ensure sanity prevails in the wildlife safari hunting management, a decentralised hunting monitoring system with teams at all levels would be in place which would be in accordance with approved procedures and hunting ethics.
She said all hunting shall be conducted at least two kilometres beyond the boundary of the national park and any animal involved in human-wildlife conflict would be allocated to the safari outfitters so as to maximise revenue earnings.
Ms Kapata said animals on special licence would be paid for by all except for educational institutions’ research purposes and other uses which will be at a fee lower than that applicable to commercial hunters effective January 1, 2015.
“Hunting of animals for traditional ceremonies shall be carried out in the respective chiefdoms.
A traditional ceremony applicant such as an organising committee shall not hunt wild animals in the chiefdom of another chief. They can only hunt in their own chiefdom,” she said.