BOOKINGS for this year’s hunting season, which runs between April and November each year, are up 20 percent from the previous year, an official has said.
The first three months of the year are reserved for marketing activities. Zimbabwe hosts hunters from countries including Russia, the United States, Hungary, Spain and Germany who pay to shoot animals such as lions, elephants and leopards, earning the country millions in revenue.
Safari Operators Association of Zimbabwe president Mr Emmanuel Fundira said the increase in bookings were also likely to impact positively on revenue generation.
Last year, revenue from animal trophy hunting was $70 million.
“2017 bookings show an increase of 20 percent over last year. When we factor in the entire industry value chain, projections get even better with targets of close to $80 million,” he said.
Commenting on the same issue, Communal Areas Management Programme for Indigenous Resources (Campfire) director Mr Charles Jonga attributed the increase in bookings to vigorous marketing by stakeholders.
“A few safari operators have already started hunts, the marketing was better this year compared to last year,” he said.
Last year’s hunting season suffered from a wait -and-see attitude adopted by most hunters who stayed away due to uncertainty over proposals to impose stricter hunting controls on elephants and lions.
The year 2016 was dominated by debate over the need to impose stricter controls on the hunting of certain animals, particularly elephants and lions in order to stop their depletion.
Some countries proposed to add elephants in Namibia, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Botswana to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites) “appendix 1” listing where most African elephants enjoy the highest level of international legal protection, but the proposals were defeated at a Cites meeting held in South Africa late last year.
The elephants in Namibia, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Botswana, are listed in “appendix 2”, a lower level of protection.
A proposal to ban all international trade in Africa’s lions was also defeated. — New Ziana.