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Revenue from this year’s hunting season has gone down 10 percent from last year’s figure primarily due to the US imposed ban on hunting trophies in April this year. The industry made $69 million in revenue this year, compared to last year before the ban was imposed which suspended the exportation of Zimbabwe’s ivory. For this year, revenue had been estimated to reach $75 million, with a 20 -30 decline expected from last year’s estimated value of industry which was pegged at $100 million.

Safari Tours Operators of Zimbabwe president Emmanuel Fundira said the suspension was based on anecdotal data and no empirical evidence was provided that elephant populations were on the decline and it has affected the hunting season this year.

“From our side we did all we could to answer questions provide scientific data and attend to production of an Elephant Management Plan for Zimbabwe and carry out surveys which has all vindicated our argument ,what is now left is for the ban to be uplifted,” he said.

“During the year scientific data and evidence was forwarded to USA officials aimed at addressing their concerns and in addition Campfire Director Charles Jonga attended to Congress Hearings in July on the same subject.”

The suspension caused an outrage amongst hunting personnel in both Tanzania and Zimbabwe with Safari Club International, filing a lawsuit against the Service.

There have been various attempts to get the ban lifted during the course of the year all which have come to no avail despite evidence provided that Zimbabwe’s hunting and safari sector was complying with international standards.

He said contrary to what statistics may say the elephant populations in Zimbabwe are growing and they have a robust Management and Quota Setting System.

“Despite this all Safari businesses in Zimbabwe had not been spared by this ban and business this year had been greatly affected,” he added.

Zimbabwe’s ban is expected to be ended on 31 December this year when the ban will be revised and revaluated for the next year.

Zimbabwe is still facing corruption in the hunting sector despite poor but improving adherence to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) directives.

Source : The Herald

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