Conservation hunting should continue – NACSO
The Namibian Association of CBNRM Support Organizations (NACSO), recently voiced its full support for continued conservation hunting and trophies derived from it. This comes in opposition to calls to ban conservation hunting and trophy hunting as witnessed in Botswana.
The Cabinet has directed the Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) to actively campaign against any attempt to ban or restrict hunting and the export of wildlife products from Namibia. The Cabinet took note that a code of conduct for conservation hunting is being developed and supported the efforts of the MET to develop and intensify measures aimed at stopping wildlife crime,” said NACSO in a recent statement.
NACSO and its members, which include Integrated Rural Development and Nature Conservation (IRDNC), the Namibia Nature Foundation (NNF) and the Namibia Development Trust (NDT), works together with Namibian communal conservancies to promote the development of rural communities based upon the principles of sustainable wildlife utilization. These include the conservation of wildlife for photographic tourism as well as conservation hunting of selected animals.
Through its Natural Resources Working Group, NACSO noted that without hunting, conservation would be brought to a close in many communal conservancies which do not have tourism potential and which depend for their income on the hunting of selected animals for trophies. Conservancy income is used to pay game guards who conduct anti-poaching patrols and to provide benefits to conservancy members, thus uplifting living standards in poorer rural communities.
In supporting the Cabinet decision, NACSO noted that animals are selected for hunting based upon quotas set by the MET, which are agreed following extensive annual game counts, and that wildlife numbers have risen in Namibia as a result of community-based conservation.
Said NACSO, “a ban on the importation of trophies to the USA and EU countries would result in a radical decline of hunters visiting Namibia, with a comparable decline in income to conservancies and their members, which in turn is likely lead to an increase in wildlife crime. NACSO fully supports the sustainable use of wildlife under legally enforced and controlled conditions, and wishes to bring to the attention of the international community that most conservancy committees with which it works, as well as ordinary conservancy members, are strongly against any ban on conservation hunting.”