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
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid