Zambian Tourism and Arts Minister, Jean Kapata, announced that the ban on hunting, which was enacted in January 2013, has been lifted. Safari Club International (SCI) and SCI Foundation maintained that the ban was counter-productive to the conservation needs of Zambia, and today’s decision should be heralded as a win for sustainable-use conservation.
“SCI and SCI Foundation commend Minister Kapata on his decision,” said SCI Foundation Joe Hosmer. “Like most range states, Zambia relies on hunting revenue for most of their conservation funding, so maintaining sustainable hunting is crucial to their wildlife’s survival.”
When the ban was initiated in January 2013, SCI and SCI Foundation immediately met with the Zambian government officials educating them on the commitment of the hunting community to sustainable use conservation. These meetings set the course for today’s policy reversal.
Though cat hunting is still banned, the lifting of the ban is in response to Zambia’s attempt to diversify its economy. Copper currently monopolizes two-thirds of its foreign exchange earnings and the government hopes that reintroducing regulated hunting across the country will stimulate its economy and encourage conservation of its wildlife.
“Regulated, sustainable hunting gives additional value to wildlife and ensures that governments dedicate the necessary resources toward wildlife management,” SCI President Craig Kauffman said. “Zambia is a country with diverse and plentiful wildlife populations. Lifting the ban will produce multiple opportunities for Zambia to capitalize on this resource and provide sustainable, healthy populations for years to come. “
Zambia has stated that the ban on cat hunting will remain in effect until a survey on lion population numbers is complete. Currently SCI Foundation is funding a Zambia Lion Project (ZLP) to assist with this information. The ZLP is conducting genetic and demographic research to assess the current status of lions, and to develop and promote practices that ensure the long- term sustainability and health of Zambia’s lion populations. These best practices for wildlife management will be discussed at this year’s African Wildlife Consultative Forum (AWCF) as they are crucial in ensuring sustainable hunting is possible.
Nelson Freeman; email@example.com
Logo courtesy Safari Club International Foundation