The 42nd Annual General Meeting of the Namibia Professional Hunting Association (NAPHA) was opened by the Minister of Environment and Tourism, HE Pohamba Shifeta. The minister said that U.S. anti-hunting lobbyists and pressure groups cost the Namibian government US$650,000 last year after they vehemently objected to the auction and hunt of a black rhino bull. This particular hunt (see previous issues of African Indaba for details HERE) received negative publicity from people who did not understand or did not want to understand the principle of conservation through sustainable utilization, said Shifeta. “The permit sold for US$350,000, but could have generated more than US$1 million. This was the offer on the table confirmed by Dallas Safari Club, but which was withdrawn shortly before the auction due to pressure from anti-hunting lobbyists. The proceeds from the auction went to the Namibia Game Products Trust Fund and US$650,000 more could have been distributed among a number of rhino conservation projects,” he concluded.
“Namibia is a pro-wildlife country with a progressive national constitution that has formally enshrined the sustainable utilization of living natural resources”, Shifeta continued. “We are a hunter-friendly nation with a very proud hunting heritage, and our trophy hunting community is well respected by our government and fellow Namibians as an essential and integral part of Namibia’s wildlife conservation, tourism, agricultural and business sectors”. Trophy hunting currently provides more on-the-job training and promotional opportunities, as well as pays better salaries than any other form of agricultural land employment options, and invests heavily in a variety of social upliftment and educational programmes in rural areas throughout Namibia.
Namibia is firmly established as one of Africa’s most popular hunting and tourism destinations, and all reports indicate that 2015 was again an excellent year for the local hunting and conservation community. Yet, Shifeta also warned that trophy hunting was currently threatened by a number of factors. The recent anti-hunting hype is based on emotion rather than fact but succeeded in demonizing hunters. Shifeta challenged the participants of the NAPHA meeting that “it is up to each and every one of us to raise our voices as enthusiastically as the anti-hunting community does, in order to promote the concept of sustainable hunting as the ultimate conservation triumph”.
The minister warned that game breeders and hunting outfitters, who deal in wildlife that is manipulated for larger trophies and line-bred for pelage color variants in intensive and closely controlled breeding facilities, are putting hunting and conservation at risk. These practices threaten to destroy what the Namibian hunting and conservation community has worked hard to establish over the past 60 years, said Shifeta.
During the second day of the AGM, and after intensive debating, the members of NAPHA passed a motion, introduced by Reini Rusch and seconded by Jofie Lamprecht, with only one vote against and none abstaining to “request [the Ministry of Environment and Tourism] MET to ban the import and export of all gene-manipulated wild game species into or out of Namibia, as well as all game trophies bred for color variation or game animals which are used for artificial breeding of outsized trophies”.
Author: Gerhard R Damm
Editor’s Note: Regarding intensive breeding see also the article “PHASA POSITION PAPER ON INTENSIVE BREEDING AND THE BREEDING OF COLOR VARIANTS IN THE WILDLIFE INDUSTRY” African Indaba APRIL 2015, VOLUME 13-2