Zimbabwe has recorded a 30 percent decline in revenue from safari hunting since the United States banned ivory products from Zimbabwe last April, an official said Wednesday.
Safari Operators Association of Zimbabwe president Emmanuel Fundira said the ban had resulted in significant loss of revenue and was threatening livelihoods of 800,000 families that directly depend on wildlife exploitation.
The United States is a lucrative market for Zimbabwe’s 100 million US dollar safari hunting industry.
The United States Fish and Wildlife Services banned ivory resulting from safari hunting in Zimbabwe citing poor management systems after more than 100 elephants died from cyanide poisoning in Hwange National Park last year.
Fundira said the US based its decision on anecdotal data and not scientific evidence, adding that despite the unfortunate incident, Zimbabwe still has a healthy elephant population of 90, 000, almost double its carrying capacity.
He said Zimbabwe had a good track record of wildlife conservation and does not deserve the punitive measures by the US agency.
“We should not be considered for the ban because a recent aerial survey indicated that our elephant population is still healthy and our management systems are of very high standards and second to none,” he said.