Africans protest against UK trophy hunting import ban bill

Protests Botswana against the UK government

British authority and influence in southern African countries is ‘as bad as in the Zulu Wars’ says one commentator. The reason? The UK government wants to enact a ban on trophy imports, throwing the whole basis for wildlife conservation in Namibia, South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Mozambique and other countries into doubt.

As the people of Botswana march through the streets of the capital Gaberone to protest against the UK government, the message is clear: Botswana’s wildlife numbers are stable and reintroducing the hunting ban could lead to a rise in poaching, as previously witnessed.

Botswana, under former president Ian Khama, placed a moratorium on hunting in 2014. The ban was lifted by his successor, Mokgweetsi Masisi, in 2019.

Reported in VOA News, one of the organizers of the march, Poniso Shamukuni, said that if the measure passes in Westminster, it will negatively impact livelihoods of communities living side-by-side with wildlife in Botswana. His country has the world’s largest elephant population at more than 130,000, and the giant animals are often in conflict with humans.

“We implore your government to carefully consider the implications of enacting the Hunting Trophies (Import Prohibition) bill. Such a decision could have far-reaching negative consequences on wildlife populations, exacerbate human-wildlife conflicts, undermine conservation efforts, and impact the livelihoods and well-being of communities residing in wildlife areas,” said Shamukuni.

Ian Kharma, ex president of Botswana

The Zimbabwe Chronicle reports that former Botswana president Ian Khama is accused of betraying local communities with trophy hunting ban. Botswana environment and tourism minister Dumezweni Mthimkhulu told the newspaper that the former president Is “working tirelessly with powerful international anti-hunting lobby groups in the United Kingdom to effect a ban on trophy hunting” and that he is “turning his back on the people he once led”.

Wildlife ecologists say that plans to ban the importation of trophy hunting products are unjust and pose a threat to conservation. Reported in the Zimbabwe Herald, Prof Richard Fynn, an ecologist at the Okavango Research Institute of the University of Botswana told journalists drawn from SADC countries that banning trophy hunting can have detrimental effects on the livelihoods of local communities and perpetuate colonial injustices.

Mangaliso Ndlovu

Botswana is galvanising the support of southern African countries to lobby against moves by Europe to ban the import of wildlife trophies from Africa, says the Herald. The Botswana Wildlife Producers Association said it was important to amplify voices against Europe’s efforts to ban trophy hunting.

Minister of environment, climate and wildlife management Mangaliso Ndlovu told the newspaper that Zimbabwe is set to send a delegation  to the United Kingdom to escalate a lobby drive against the planned ban on  importation of hunting trophies to the UK.



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