Representatives from rural communities in the sub-Saharan region have thus met onto a common platform with owners and directors of Safari Hunting firms at the ongoing African Wildlife Consultative Forum (AWCF) taking place in Zimbabwe.
Dr Maurus Msuha the director of wildlife in the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism is leading the Tanzanian delegation to the AWCF taking place at Victoria Falls.
Also in the entourage is the deputy commissioner for tourism and business services, for the Tanzania Wildlife Management Authority (TAWA), Imani Nkuwi who contacted ‘The Guardian’ on Wednesday said that African rural communities and safari hunting companies are meeting in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe for the first time.
“They are exploring how to co-exist harmoniously as well as cultivating and ensuring win-win business partnerships,” he said, adding that both parties; hunting companies and African rural communities, have realised the importance of unity for mutually beneficial business partnership as well as future survival.
It was pointed out at the AWCF meeting that hunting companies and African rural communities depending on Safari tracking face a collective threat from the western governments’ ongoing threats to shut down hunting activities.
As it happens, Queen Elizabeth II recently hinted that the UK was contemplating to impose a ban onto trophy-hunting imports from Africa while elsewhere, precisely in the US State of California, African hunting trophies were almost outlawed.
Delegates attending the meeting also had a bone to pick with animal rights groups and other green activists that were again described to be threats against the continent’s Safari hunting industry.
“In order to deal with the said threats we need to start addressing issues related to maintaining good hunting standards and showing how hunting promotes conservation of not only wildlife but biodiversity,” said Esther Netshivhongweni, sustainable tourism advisor for Makuya Traditional Council of Limpopo Province South Africa.
Maurus Msuha the director of wildlife in the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism, said no outside forces had the right to dictate what is wrong or right in making use of Africa’s resources.
“Countries in the SADC region have all fought and earned their freedom from colonial rules; the next challenge for us is to fight for the right to use our resources for the development of our own people. This needs political pressure from our governments to state clearly that we no longer want to be bullied and denied our sovereign rights to trade in our own wildlife products,” said Dr Msuha.
For his part, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) representative, Julian Blanc proposed that it was high time to empower local communities so that they can organize themselves into regional hunting entities.
The director of Africa wildlife services of South Africa, Louis Ebersohn said that they intend to conduct research, working with universities and use the information to show the benefits of hunting to both wildlife and biodiversity conservation.