‘Ignorance’ threatens hunting industry

06 December 2021 | Local News

ELLANIE SMIT



WINDHOEK

International countries’ ignorance about the science of wildlife management is threatening Namibia’s hunting industry.

Namibia’s constitutional right to sustainably utilise its natural resources is being challenged by those outside its borders, who seem to believe they know better how to protect the countries resources.

This is according to environment minister Pohamba Shifeta, who said “international decision-makers are pushing Africa into a corner, bolstered by personal preference opinions and irresponsible media reporting, advising the public that hunting has no place in this modern day and age”.

Speaking at the 47th Annual General Meeting of the Namibia Professional Hunting Association (Napha), he said



“they display complete ignorance about the science of wildlife management; the vital importance of healthy habitats; and the role that wildlife management plays, or should play, in the maintenance of biological diversities”.

“They make decisions, clearly, having absolutely no experience or understanding of science-based wildlife management - but even more so, of sharing our beautiful earth with beasts, birds and wildlife.”

Shifeta said it is unfortunate that instead of following Africa’s example, they undermine its efforts and successes, and take away the tools with which the continent is able to promote and sustain good conservation.

Our own worst enemy

“However, I must acknowledge that, at times, we can be our own worst enemies and Namibian hunters often, through ignorance, give ammunition to those who wish to attack our way of life and conservation agenda.

“With the age of social media, there has often been unintended consequences of our irresponsible posting of photos. Often these photographs and videos are ill conceived and elicit a negative reaction thereto.”

Shifeta commended Napha on its guidelines on social media posts and urged all hunters in Namibia to follow them.

He added that the past two years has been challenging for the hunting industry in particular and for the country in general.

“Namibia has experienced severe drought over the past few years, leading to incredible losses of our precious game and reduction in their numbers.”

These losses affected quota allocation for sustainable hunting in Namibia, he said, adding that the tourism sector suffered incredibly from the pandemic, with statistics indicating a decline of 89.4% in 2020 arrivals compared to the previous year.

Bright side

On the bright side, he mentioned that this year, the Elephant Conservation and Management Plan was launched.

“We believe this is a forward-looking and comprehensive plan which will ensure the future of one of Namibia’s greatest natural resources for generations to come.”

Furthermore, Shifeta said the Wildlife and Protected Areas Management Bill will be enacted during the first half of next year and be fully implemented to benefit the hunting industry as well as other conservation, economic and livelihoods options when it comes to wildlife and protected area management.

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