05 November 2012
Various reports have been circulating in the media over the past week that Botswana will stop issuing hunting licences from next year in a bid to protect the tourism industry.
Dereck Joubert, CEO of Great Plains Conservation respods
While this is not an official announcement from what I can tell, it is certainly consistent with the trend in Botswana and in other places in Africa. It is a move that we would support.
We cannot sustain the high levels of animal take off via hunting much longer in the wild, in particular the virtual extermination of predators and other declining species. If one considers that we are losing 25,000 elephants a year in Africa, and that we have just over 20,000 lions left in total, this is not the time to be shooting wildlife just for kicks.
At Great Plains when we took over the Selinda area we immediately disallowed all hunting and focused on tourism. The result has been steady and quite amazing to witness. This season I doubt we have seen better wildlife numbers anywhere in the country than in Selinda and certainly never like this in the area. Besides the actual numbers of wildlife, we’ve seen these animals settle down and live without fear of being persecuted and we’ve seen exciting changes in the numbers of species like Roan antelope and Sable. Leopards have suddenly calmed down and at last lion numbers are building up again.
The cessation of hunting will also mean that there will be more opportunities for companies like ours to come in to Botswana and convert those acres into better land for wildlife and transformation to tourism, as we once did in Selinda. That has a hugely positive effect on revenues to the country without overcrowding existing tourism locations and increases our exposure and reputations as a nation.
Let’s face it, Botswana’s Okavango Delta is one of the world’s most precious assets. Looking after it has to be a national if not a global priority and the cessation of hunting shows a huge commitment to its conservation.
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