ZAWA explains hunting ban lift

This is the response of ZAWA on their previous press release ‘Minister lifts ban on hunting‘:

Contrary to widespread blatant misinformation reports on social media and some sectors of the media that the hunting ban on elephants has been lifted, The Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) would like to inform members of the public and the international community that this is not the case.

The ban on hunting of elephants and cats is still in effect. ZAWA would also like to state that even before the ban was affected, Zambia was never been a pro-elephant hunting nation. In the last 10years, even before the ban, hunting of elephants in Zambia has been at the lowest and quotas significantly small in the region and was restricted to two out of the 36 Game Management Areas (GMA’s) in Zambia, namely, Rufunsa and Lupande. And the only reason for hunting in these areas was because they were overly populated and causing human wildlife conflicts. Initially, ZAWA would simply control (kill) the animals. But this was seen to be a waste when some income could be gained through controlled hunting. It was on this basis that sport hunting was introduced here, and incomes ploughed back into helping the surrounding communities.

ZAWA being committed towards protecting and conserving wildlife, offered significant input and guidance needed for the Ministry Of Tourism and Arts’ decision to lift the hunting ban.

People must also be aware and understand that, the decision to lift the ban is not merely a consumptive matter, but a conservation one as well, as money, which is raised in these animal overpopulated areas is usually ploughed back into conservation. The decision is also a human-wildlife conflict mitigation measure as these places are known for this problem.
Conservation is much more than just allowing uncontrolled animal over-populations. It is about ensuring the balance between humans and wildlife, for harmonious existence of both. ZAWA has been a target of all sorts of misunderstandings because this role is not clearly understood.

In fact in other cases, especially in communities prone to human wildlife conflicts, ZAWA has been accused of caring more about the welfare of animals than that of human beings. What some people have said is that ZAWA gives too much attention and protection to wildlife and not humans.  But we should all understand that as much as wildlife should serve man, it must be sustainably utilised because the importance of conserving and protecting wildlife, borders on the enhancement of our society and human life itself. Hence, environmental conservation should be a collective human obligation because without wildlife, there would be no human life to speak of, as we all know that wildlife enhances society and human life.

Wildlife could generally survive without humans. But we can’t say the same for human life in the absence of wildlife and the natural environment, as it is an important basis for our nutrition and economic survival.

Hence, ZAWA’s role is unique and complex as it has to juggle and find this balance between the growth of wildlife vis-à-vis human populations. It is for this reason that ZAWA takes great care in the allocation of quotas or what is to be hunted and where this should be undertaken.

But we understand that without proper sensitization and awareness of the key and direct relationships we humans must share with the wild, ZAWA’s role will always be misunderstood and misinterpreted and the battle to create harmony between Wildlife and humans will be lost, and the future of this unique estate shall be at stake and at risk. Everything in life is interdependent and maintaining that delicate balance is the answer.

Apart from its economic benefits, Wildlife contributes to the ecological balance of nature, the food chain and nature cycles. It is also a source of ecological, biodiversity, economic, recreation, and scientific, social and cultural values untold. And ZAWA hopes that individuals, the media and the general public could help us communicate this clearly.

Please ensure that you have read the entire article before posting comments. Any off-topic and offensive language will be moderated.

Article by: The Zambia Wildlife Authority