EARLIER, I ASKED A QUESTION ABOUT THE FUSS GOVERNING HUNTING SAFARIS. AN ECONOMIST SPECIALISING IN WILDLIFE INBOXED ME AND HAPPY TO SHARE
The hunting licence hullabaloo:
The recent outcry with regard to the cancelation of the hunting licences by the Ministry of Tourism and the subsequent reporting of the PS to the Anti Corruption Commission is not about governance or lack, but about greed and the preservation of a long tradition of cartels in the country’s wildlife industry.
Unbeknownst to many, the hunting business – the trophy hunting business – is a multi millionaire business that has, hitherto, been the reserve of a select and connected few – those connected to the powers that be allowing them easy access to Zambia’s wildlife.
Why the hullabaloo?
Simple: It’s about money!!!
Trophy hunters who fly in from Europe and the USA can pay up to $250,000 to come and go on a Cat (Lions, Leopards, Cheetas) Safari. Now imagine, the department of National Parks would sell a Lion to a bidder for say K20, 000 – and this bidder then resells this Lion packaged as a hunted trophy of $200,000 (About K2. 4 million).
Given the abnormality of profits from this venture, corruption is rife in the allocation of hunting licences and concessions. Over the years, cartels have emerged that bribe officials in the Ministry of Tourism and sadly, some Chiefs too in the game areas whose only benefit from these deals is the meat that the trophy hunters leave behind.
The participation of Zambians in this sphere has been little to none – just as is the case in the mining sector, sadly!
Transparency in the way the licences are given is key, and the recent cry by these hunters through their surrogates is an attempt to continue the murkey and shady businesses that do not benefit Zambians.