Friday, December 4, 2020

Deadlock over trophy hunting ban enters OP

Community trusts have vowed to approach the Office of the President after a deadlock between community trusts and the Environment, Wildlife and Tourism Ministry over the extension of trophy hunting in their concession areas next year.

Community trusts that are expected to approach the Office of the President have lease agreements with private companies to hunt in their concession areas beyond 2014, a year that the government has imposed trophy hunting ban.

Ministry Permanent Secretary, Neil Fitt, confirmed in an interview that he has since met with community trusts which were seeking the extension of trophy hunting next year.

He said that the ministry could not take a position on their request since the government had taken a decision to ban the trophy hunting next year .

Fitt added that community trusts have indicated to them that they were going to approach OP on the issue surrounding the extension of trophy hunting in the concessions areas since they had initially entered into contracts with companies.

He said that the ministry only advised that the trusts could only change from trophy hunting to photography safari.

Fitt stated that the ministry had managed to have some discussions with some companies and community trusts that had gone into agreements that will still exist next year when trophy hunting ban starts.

He said that some companies have agreed on the transition from hunting safari to photography safari.

Community trusts have indicated that they will approach the OP as they fear that companies are likely to sue them for breaching their contracts if they are not allowed to continue hunting as it was agreed on their lease agreement.

The ban of trophy hunting next year traverses some of the community trusts and joint ventures contracts that will still be operational beyond 2014.

Mababe Zokotshuma Community Trust is one of the companies that have gone into joint venture with African Field Sports View contract which ends in 2017.

Okavango Research Centre, Acting Director, Joseph Mbaiwa, says the move to ban trophy hunting while there are lease agreements that still exist beyond 2014 could result in lawsuits.

Mbaiwa explained that companies that entered into joint ventures with the community will sue if the government imposes the ban on trophy hunting.

He said that if communities do not meet their promises because of the government move there is going to be a legal battle.

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