News / Africa

Minister: Zambia Losing Too Many Lions and Leopards

Zambia imposes temporary ban on lion and leopard hunting in certain areas.
Zambia imposes temporary ban on lion and leopard hunting in certain areas.

Multimedia

Audio
Joe DeCapua
Zambia’s tourism minister has announced a partial ban on the hunting of lions and leopards. She warns their numbers may be too low to allow safari hunting to continue for now. What’s more, there’ll be a study of the lucrative industry following reports of corruption and lack of compensation for the government and local communities.


Tourism Minister Sylvia Masebo said the government is breaking from the past and is “putting conservation at the core” of its management policies.  She said that Zambia has not fully benefitted from allowing safari hunting to take place. According to Masebo, Zambia needs to conserve and control its wildlife resources.

“We are concerned as government in that our stock levels, especially in as far as the cats are concerned, we were not very sure what was on the ground. And we felt that there was a need for us to review our policies to ensure that there is transparency and accountability in the overall management and direction of this industry,” she said.

Estimates of the number of lions in Zambia’s national parks have ranged from about 2,500 to more than 4,600.

“Zambia has a number of national parks and game management areas, which in the past two or three decades have been leased out to a number of operators, safari operators, who have been managing these areas. And recently government did advertise 19 game management areas for safari hunting. Unfortunately, the process was marred with corruption,” she said.

The hunting ban covers those 19 areas where leases were just about to be put out to bid. There are other areas where hunting continues because the leases have not expired. Masebo says hunting is also permitted on private game ranches that have valid permits and are fenced in.

“As a new government, we undertake to ensure that this industry would take into account the participation of the ordinary citizens in these areas where these hunting safari operators are operating," she said. "We’ve seen as a government that our communities have not been benefitting. And therefore we felt it was necessary also to look at issues of conservation as opposed to just making money.”

The tourism minister said Zambian law requires local communities be consulted about hunting operations. This is done, she says, through community resource boards.

“We need to ensure that the people that come from these areas must benefit. The government itself must benefit. The animals themselves must be protected. Unfortunately, the kind of money that we have raised as a country cannot be compared to this loss of the animals. And so between protecting the animals and losing the money we chose to lose the money for now,” she said.

Masebo said that breaking from the past is not easy. Without naming names, she says the hunting industry has been controlled by what she described as big cartels.

Gavin Robinson is chairman of the Professional Hunters Association of Zambia. Its members are employed by registered safari companies that negotiate leases with the government. He reacted to the minister’s decision.

“She suspended the awarding and the contractual process for the tender documents because they had been brought to her attention – flawed manners and matters within the tender process and that. And she took action as she saw fit as the honorable minister of tourism and that’s what led us to this current debate now over these 19 areas,” she said.

Robinson said after several meetings on the matter a decision was made.

“Due to the late nature of the year and marketing issues and everything like that, there would be one year of no hunting in those 19 areas,” he said.

As for the tourism minister’s concerns about low numbers of lions in Zambia, Robinson said, “As professional hunters, we can comment on this last 10-year lease period. We feel the quota numbers were sufficient. And for the last 10 years we have successfully harvested our lion here in Zambia. And we have always looked after the remaining lion to ensure that we have lion for the following year. We as professional hunters are very involved conservation.”

As for leopards, he said that most agree their numbers have never been an issue of concern. He says hunters are given a yearly quota on leopards – a quota he added they never reach.

Robinson said that the hunting ban in 19 areas means fewer jobs for professional hunters in Zambia this year.

You May Like

UN Ambassador Power Highlights Plight of Women Prisoners

She launches the 'Free the 20' campaign, aimed at profiling women being deprived of their freedom around the world More

Satellite Launch Sparks Spectacular Light Show

A slight delay in a satellite launch lit up the Florida sky early this morning More

Fleeing IS Killings in Syria, Family Reaches Bavaria

Exhausted, scared and under-nourished, Khalil and Maha's tale mirrors those of thousands of refugees from war-torn countries who have left their homes in the hopes of finding a better life More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs