Zimbabwean government drafting statutory instrument to ensure communities benefit from trophy hunting


Lulu Brenda Harris, The Independent

Date Published

Zimbabwe’s government is drafting a Statutory Instrument which will
direct how revenue generated from hunting quotas is allocated to the
communities that bear the brunt of human- wildlife conflict.

Communities that live in areas with, or surrounded by, wildlife often
have their fields destroyed while some have been injured and others
unlucky to lose lives in wildlife attacks.

Since policy directs that all wildlife belongs to the State, every
year, the government assigns councils or local authorities a
particular quota for the number of animals that can be hunted during
the annual season.

“Such a hunting quota is then put to competitive bidding so that
hunters can put their bids to the council indicating the money that
they are going to pay. We are looking forward to those who will be
offering higher bids, their bids will be taken up by councils,” said
the Minister of Environment, Climate Change, Tourism and Hospitality
Industry, Mangaliso Ndlovu, in Parliament.

The Minister said, according to the Communal Areas Management
Programme for Indigenous Resources (CAMPFIRE) laws, revenue from legal
hunting should be shared with the community and traditional leaders.

However, there have been concerns and claims that CAMPFIRE proceeds
are not really much or are misappropriated for other uses.

“What determines the cost is the bids that come. Right now, we have
noted that there is a lot of competition. There is human-wildlife
conflict. As the Government, we have noted that it is important to
reward the people who live in such communities,” Ndlovu said, adding
that the Ministry was making efforts to empower communities in areas
where people coexist with animals.

“There is a Statutory Instrument that we are drafting which is going
to be enacted soon which says that revenue that is generated from
hunting quotas should be given to the communities because such
communities are affected by the human-wildlife conflict, especially
their fields and their livelihoods.”

The Minister’s sentiments come after questions have been raised about
government policy pertaining to the trade in wild animals, including
the pricing structure.

A Matabeleland North legislator, Lwazi Sibanda claimed that in
Tsholotsho, a group of people expressed interest in buying an
elephant, and were charged a price without consultation.

“However, someone expressed interest and the money that was indicated
in that tender was lower than the charge that was expected by the
traditional leaders and community. They were informed that the lower
price was determined by Covid-19. I would like to know if it is
allowed that an individual can determine the price of an elephant
without consulting?” Sibanda asked, questioning if councillors could
solely charge the sale of elephants without consulting the community.

In response, the environmental Minister said there is no permission to
trade in wildlife. “But what happens is that if you have a place where
you can look after wildlife, then the

Government determines whether you have the right place to do that.
There are some people who have wildlife in their farms. They can trade
if someone is interested but I have not heard of anyone who has bought
elephants in rural areas,” Ndlovu said.

Ndlovu, however, noted his Ministry might need to investigate this
particular incident that allegedly took place in Tsholotsho.

“This case is specific to Tsholotsho which is unique but I know that
some of these issues might need further investigation so that we
understand what transpired,” he said.