Zimbabwe is opposed to any plans to restrict trade in wildlife and its products from which the country earns millions of dollars annually, which is pumped into sustainable

conservation initiatives, Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa said.

Mnangagwa said this as he launched the country's roadmap to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) to be hosted in South Africa from Sept 24 to Oct 5.

Some developed countries with support of some African countries such as Kenya that have reportedly been paid to support the move, are pushing to have CITES, to which Zimbabwe is a member, restrict animal trophy

imports through uplisting of the elephant, lion and other species into Appendix 1 category, which prohibits commercial trade in those species.

The move will have a huge impact on Zimbabwe which has over the years funded its wildlife conservation through safari hunting, sport hunting and at times live animal sales, among other initiatives.

VP Mnangagwa said Zimbabwe would only agree to such moves if countries pushing for the ban agreed to consistently fund the country's sustainable wildlife management programmes.

"Zimbabwe's current healthy wildlife populations can be attributed to its robust sustainable wildlife utilization programmes involving both consumptive and non-consumptive uses which ensure that proceeds from

wildlife are ploughed back into conservation," he said.

"The notion that trophy hunting leads to extinction of species is not based on any scientific evidence."

Despite elephant trophy hunting being legal, Zimbabwe has over the years managed to grow its elephant population to over 80 000, double the carrying capacity of habitats.

VP Mnangagwa said it was odd that countries that had decimated their wildlife populations were the ones now attempting to give those with plenty, directions on how to manage their flora and fauna.

"We are now being punished for good wildlife management," he said, adding if the market for trade in wildlife closed, it meant they would be of no significant value especially in the light of increasing human


Zimbabwe has set aside about 26 percent of its land for wildlife conservation mainly in the form of game parks, which are protected areas.

Communities living in areas that have huge wildlife populations are assisting in conserving the animals through various initiatives with revenues accrued from trophy hunting being used to develop the areas as well as into game management.

Environment, Water and Climate Change Minister Oppah Muchinguri said Zimbabwe was in favor of sustainable use of its wildlife, lamenting that some countries were politicizing the issue of trophy hunting.

"Proposed restrictions will have huge negative social and economic impact on communities living with wildlife," she said.

"Potential losses in revenue will reverse gains that had been made in conservation."

Source: Name News Network