Thursday, January 25, 2007


23 January 2007

On 3 January 2007, a truce between Government and the hunting safari industry – including sections of the tourism and conservation community, was brokered by the Minister of Tourism, Environment & Natural Resources, Kabinga Pande, at a meeting in Lusaka. The Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) Director-General, Dr Lewis Saiwana, admitted past mistakes and requested future cooperation, and the Minister promised a future open-door policy, requesting that the campaign against Government cease and that the factional fighting besetting the industry should be resolved. On Monday 15 January, 2007, Ian Manning and Rolf Shenton, steering committee members of the Natural Resources Consultative Forum of Zambia (NRCF) – a cross-sectoral forum of all the stakeholders in the environmental and natural resources field, met with the Chairman of the ZAWA Board, Walusiku Lisulo, who stated that ZAWA would fully consult all stakeholders in the future before making major decisions. This undertaking was confirmed by Dr Saiwana, who added that no elephant hunting permits would be issued without full consultation with all concerned, and that a full round of stakeholder meetings would be held in February 2007 on the return of the Minister, the Chairman and the DG from their attendance at the forthcoming Safari Club International meeting in Reno, USA.

The NRCF had in January 2006, invoked the precautionary principle, and with the agreement of the hunting fraternity of Zambia (Safari Hunting Operators’ Association and Professional Hunters’ Association), advised the Minister that no elephant hunting should be allowed until the necessary supporting scientific information was to hand. This had been ignored by the Ministry and ZAWA in 2006, assurances obviously now being sought that this would not happen again.

On Tuesday 16 January, the licensing office of ZAWA phoned safari operators to announce that an auction of elephant hunting permits would be held at ZAWA HQ on Friday19 January, 2007. On Wednesday 17 January, Manning e-mailed and had delivered by courier to Dr Lewis Saiwana, Walusiku Lisulo, and the public relations officer of the Ministry, Bwalya Nondo - the latter promising to place the letter in the hands of the Minister, a letter querying the auction. No reply was forthcoming.

On Friday 19 January 2007 - in a repeat of the auction of 2006, and witnessed by a safari operator’s representative, ten elephant for sport hunting were put up for auction at a reserve price of $10,000 each, two elephant permits being purchased by Mr Doug Reynolds of Royal Zambezi Safaris, to be killed in the Chiawa concession, an area adjoining a photo tourism hotspot. Rashid Randera of Baobab Safaris and Nyampala Safaris, who in 2006 had purchased eight elephant permits, attended the auction, did not take part in the public bid, but met with the auctioneers prior to the auction, reputedly placing an offer on the table for the permits remaining unsold – they being for two areas, Rufunsa and Lower Lupande where Randera has an interest. No other operators, Reynolds and Randera apart - as in 2006, attended. An opportunity was given to the acting Director General of the Zambia Wildlife Authority, Isaac Longwe, to comment on the auction and to confirm the train of events. He has so far not done so.

I.P.A. Manning

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