Zimbabwe is all set to sell hunting rights for elephants. Their plan to sell rights to shoot as many as 500 elephants was announced this week. The authorities came up with such a decision as the revenue from the tourism industry considerably declined due to the covid pandemic.
Zimbabwe has a budget of 25 million dollars for the upkeep of its wildlife parks. They raise the amount partly by allowing sports hunting. Like in other places Zimbabwe’s tourism industry was also badly hit by the coronavirus pandemic. With travel restrictions on due to Covid-19, their revenue from this source was lost.
The decision comes within weeks after IUCN included African elephants in the Red List of endangered species. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Switzerland, has declared the African Bush elephant also known as the African Savanna elephant and the smaller African Forest elephant as endangered and included them in the Red List on 25 March 2021. African Bush elephant is considered endangered while African Forest elephant is considered critically endangered
According to Center for Natural Resource Governance, a Zimbabwe environmental and human rights advocacy group, the decision to allow elephant hunting was “appalling.” They strongly condemned the practice of trophy hunting, saying that it will increase human-wildlife conflicts. They are certain that the surviving members from the hunted family of animals will attack the hapless villagers who live near the forest.
The advocacy group said the practice is motivated by greed and the money is never accounted for. They think it is important to find out more innovative and eco-friendly measures to improve revenue generation from photo safaris and tourism in general.
Zimbabwe is not the only country that has adopted trophy hunting for raising revenue. In December 2020, 170 elephants were put up for sale in Namibia. Many African countries allow sports hunting or trophy hunting regardless of the level of decline in their elephant population.
Trophy hunting is the shooting of selected animals such as rhinos, elephants, lions, pumas, and bears, under official government license for pleasure. But the hunters would have to follow the rules set by the government. The trophy is any body part of the animal that the hunter can keep as a souvenir.