Namibia’s Minister of Environment, Forestry and Tourism, Pohamba Shifeta said if an option to ban the import and export of any hunting trophies by some European countries is taken, it may have negative consequences for the people and country’s wildlife.
“We have noted some initiatives to ban trophies’ import into the United Kingdom, Belgium, and Finland. High-value hunting by clients from Europe and elsewhere is an important contributor to the sustainable wildlife economy in Namibia and Namibia’s growing ‘re-wilding’ conservation program,” he said on Thursday at a press briefing in Windhoek.
Should these countries ban the import and export of hunting trophies, that will erode all the progress made in our country since independence, particularly if other more European countries follow suit, he added.
He said the ban could affect about 9 percent of Namibia’s estimated 2.5 million people who are members of communal conservancies responsible for managing wildlife and who also benefit from conservation hunting.
“These conservancies are responsible for managing wildlife on 169,756 square kilometers of land, which is 21 percent of Namibia’s land area. Communities generated approximately 8 million U.S. dollars in cash and other benefits from this land during 2020 alone. About 30 percent of these returns were derived from conservation hunting, which includes what is commonly known as trophy hunting, while the remainder was from photographic tourism and other nature-based enterprises,” he said.
He said, Namibia can demonstrate that trophy hunting positively contributes to wildlife conservation and the rural economy, which should provide sufficient grounds for approving trophy imports from the semi-arid nation.
Namibia has a policy of devolving conditional wildlife ownership rights to its people and Shifeta said this has produced excellent results for wildlife conservation and rural sustainable development, adding that populations of elephants, lions, and black rhinoceros have increased in number and expanded their range into areas where they were formerly eradicated.
On private farmland, Shifeta said wildlife ownership has encouraged the recovery and growth of numerous species.
According to Shifeta, European hunters account for over half of Namibia’s total hunting revenue, adding that of the over 8,000 trophy hunters who visit Namibia between 2019 and 2021, over 50 percent were from European countries. Enditem