East African

TUESDAY NOVEMBER 13 2018
Park wardens drive through the Mikumi National Park

Park wardens drive through the Mikumi National Park, which borders the Selous Game Reserve, in Tanzania on October 13, 2013.

The country has lifted a ban on hunting that had been imposed in October 2015 following misuse of hunting permits. PHOTO | AFP

By APOLINARI TAIRO
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Tanzania has lifted a ban on hunting that had been imposed in October 2015 following abuse and misuse of hunting permits.

Hunting will now be allowed for Tanzanian citizens and holders of foreign residence permits in specified game reserves, specifically for game meat and trophies.

The government said the move has been taken to support conservation of wildlife through sustainable hunting, which is closely supervised by the government.

In a statement released last week, Tanzania Wildlife Management Authority (Tawa) director general James Wakibara said resident hunting will be carried out in five hunting blocks located in five regions as an experiment that would build new conservation strategy through sustainable use of wildlife resources.

The government has allocated hunting blocks in five regions across Tanzania rich in wildlife where resident hunting permits will be issued.

These are Manyara in northern Tanzania, Lindi (Southern), Coast (Coastal zone), Singida (Central) and Tabora-Katavi (Western).

Licencing

Mr Wakibara said citizens hunting for game meat have to be licensed by the relevant authority and proof of the kill has to be presented afterwards in the form of skin, hooves and other non-edible animal parts.

The ban on resident hunting was aimed at controlling wanton killing of wildlife and poaching by holders of resident hunting permits.

Resident hunting permits are issued to citizens and foreigners living in Tanzania, including diplomats, business executives and other groups of non-citizens working in the country.

Imposing the ban, the government cited grave violation of laws and regulations on wildlife conservation which led to killing and poaching of wildlife within the hunting blocs under the cover of issued permits.

Former Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism Lazaro Nyalandu issued the ban on resident hunting in 2015, saying the local hunters were carrying out wanton killing of wildlife in collusion with poachers.

The government had earlier established 19 Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) under the management of local communities for hunting and other tourist safari activities.

Communities living in 146 villages in Tanzania are now benefiting from wildlife revenues accrued from tourists visiting their areas for hunting and photographic safaris.

The United States Agency for International Development supports Tanzania to develop WMAs as part of the American support to the tourism sector.

Alarmed by killing of of animals, the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) last month announced that it will invest $25 million over the next four years to support efforts by African governments and local communities to protect wildlife and wildlands on the continent.

AWF president Kaddu Sebunya said poaching and illegal trade in wildlife products pose an acute threat to Africa’s natural wealth that is critical to the continent’s development prospects.

Illegal widlife products

Soaring demand for illegal wildlife products is emptying forests and savannahs of key species, undermining efforts to put in place good governance and sustainable development.

Professional hunters in Tanzania are the major stakeholders giving about 90 per cent of funds used by TAWA for wildlife conservation.

Hunting blocks in Tanzania are confined in 38 wildlife reserves, controlled game reserves and open areas. Selous Game Reserve is the biggest hunting area, covering 55,000sq km in southern Tanzania.

Block hunting licence fee is $60,000 per year, issued per each block allocated to a hunting safari company.

Trophy fees for hunting an elephant and a lion are the most expensive. Hunters are required to pay $15,000 to kill an elephant and $12,000 is paid to kill a lion under strict regulations by wildlife authorities.

Stray elephants and lions including the old and unproductive ones are the only group of animals which hunters are allocated to hunt for trophies.

Other wild animals under hunting permits are hippos, crocodiles and other species not listed in a group of endangered species, mostly the grazers and browsers, which resident permits allow the hunters to kill for meat. Professional hunters booked to Tanzania are mostly American citizen.

Each hunter spends over $14,000 to $20,000 for 10 to 21 days in hunting expeditions.

Big game hunting is a thriving business in Tanzania where hunting companies attract wealthy tourists to carry out expensive safari expeditions for big-game hunting in Game Reserves.