Samantha Chigogo Herald Correspondent
Government is against the European Union’s call to ban the importation of trophies hunted from Zimbabwe saying the move has major repercussions on the country’s economy, a Cabinet Minister has said.
This comes as Zimbabwe is severely affected by the ban on trophy hunting in the region.
The ban was imposed after the killing of Cecil the Lion by an American dentist Walter Palmer.
Addressing delegates at a stakeholders’ conference on code of ethics in safari hunting in Zimbabwe yesterday, Environment, Water and Climate Minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri said the proposed ban was a setback to the country’s hunting industry.
“The USA imposed a ban on trophies hunted from our region and as we speak, the EU Parliament intends to move a motion to ban the importation of trophies hunted from Zimbabwe,” she said.
“These machinations have far-reaching consequences, perpetuating negative perception of Zimbabwe’s hunting industry. From this meeting, the emphasis is on community benefits and participation, as we try to lobby the EU. It is important that we clearly point out the losses that the communities will incur if sport hunting is banned.”
Minister Muchinguri-Kashiri blamed Western countries for their continuous scrutiny of Zimbabwe’s environmental policies.
“It is no secret that the world’s eyes are upon Zimbabwe, scrutinising each and every step we make in an effort to point out our wrong-doings in the wildlife industry,” she said.
“We need to deliberate how best we can work together and speak with one voice to engage the EU and USA, in the process correcting the negative perception of our wildlife,” Minister Muchinguri-Kashiri said.
The Minister further said trophy hunting and wildlife movement were important in curbing the negative impacts of drought in the country.
“In light of the drought that has been induced by the El-Nino phenomenon, there is need to move wildlife from one area to another in order to reduce pressure on the ecosystem,” she said.
“However, before such measures, there is need to work together to ensure transparency.
“All translocations have to be done with the approval of the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority and I urge all those intending to do so to inform the Parks Authority of the numbers involved.”
She said the nation should strive hard to conduct the hunting business in a lawful manner saying illegal movements could result in losses to both the wildlife ranchers and the country’s economy.
“Not only does hunting and wildlife ranching benefit the individual players, but has far reaching benefits to the lives of the most vulnerable citizens who are in communities around wildlife areas,” Minister Muchinguri-Kashiri said.
“This therefore implores us to ensure that our actions and activities do not compromise the most vital stakeholder in the industry because any negative impact results in loss of benefits to these communities and mean loss of value of wildlife to them, a situation that will lead to increased conflict and poaching.”