Sunday, September 06, 2015

Tanzania won't suspend tourist hunting

The government of Tanzania said on Saturday that it will not suspend tourist hunting because the practice helped in wildlife conservation.

Adelhelm Meru, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism, said hunting tourism helped to enhance wildlife conservation and balance the ecosystem.

Meru was reacting to proposals last week by the Lusaka Agreement Task Force (LATF), an international law enforcement organ, that African countries that allow hunting should consider suspending the sport, pending the establishment of sustainable rules of the game.

The LATF Director, Bonaventure Ebayi, told a four-day Post Operation Cobra III Review and Training Workshop in Arusha that hunting tourism fuelled wildlife smuggling.

The workshop was organized by LATF in collaboration with Tanzania Wildlife Division, the U.S. Agency for International Development, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime and Traffic, the wildlife trade monitoring network.

"History has shown us that there has never been poaching in hunting blocks managed by hunting operators in Tanzania," said Meru.

He added: "If hunting tourism is suspended instead of having legal hunting there will be illegal hunting."

Meru said hunting of wildlife, especially of endangered species like elephants, was done on quota based on guidelines from the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), an international treaty to protect wildlife against overexploitation, and to prevent international trade from endangered species.

The Chairman of the Tanzania Hunting Operators Association (TAHOA), Eric Pasanisi, said the proposed suspension on hunting tourism will adversely affect wildlife conservation in Tanzania.

Pasanisi said the suspension will be harmful to wildlife conservation in the country since 65 percent of conservation funds were derived from tourist hunting.

"Abandoning tourist hunting blocks will amount to exposing our wildlife to poachers," said Pasanisi.

Pasanisi said the suspension which was aimed at protecting the wildlife will on the contrary reduce the financial resources which will also affect all wildlife and the environment as poaching will increase if the safari outfitters will not have clients in the hunting blocks.

There are more than 130 hunting concessions in Tanzania in an area covering 250,000 square kilometres leased to outfitters licensed to conduct tourist hunting in game reserves, game controlled and open areas. 

 Xinhua -

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