Hunting in Africa will change dramatically in 2014. In a controversial move for some, President Khama of Botswana has announced that Botswana will ban trophy hunting that year.
The ban will apply to commercial hunting of wildlife in public areas from 2014.
In his State of the Nation address, President Khama said “the rise in cross border and domestic poaching incidents and trafficking of live predators” were of additional concern. “Shooting wild game purely for sport and trophies is no longer compatible with our commitment to preserve local fauna as a national treasure, which should be treated as such.”
Hunting companies and hunters believe hunting may continue, particularly for elephant. Numerous in northern Botswana and contiguous areas of Zambia and Zimbabwe elephant could seriously degrade the environment if not controlled.
Some want to know how the Botswana Government will police poaching. If the ban applies only to commercial hunting in national parks, wild life will still be subject to poaching in other non-public areas of this 582 000 sq km country.
But, hunting has an image problem. Trophy hunting does not bring much material benefit to the country or the majority of its people. It appears to be a sport enjoyed by a privileged few. Most trophy hunters are wealthy citizens of other continents. Some are well connected government people from within the continent.
Ian Michler, writing in Africa Geographic, draws attention to the recent rise in the lion trade. He warns: “Expect a surge in the appalling practices that have now become the hallmark of the private sector within the South African wildlife industry.”
King & King believes that, as has happened elsewhere of course, ways will be found to get round the ban – at least initially.
Botswana will remain one of the top destinations for K&K photographic safari clients. For the latest specials available in Botswana next year email: firstname.lastname@example.org