No matter whether Zimbabwe’s Cecil the Lion was harvested legally or poached back in July, his death caused a huge uproar. The circumstances surrounding the hunt led to charges being filed against the American who shot him, though they were later dismissed. The hoopla over the hunt also caused several airlines to ban the transport of hunting trophies, making it hard for even squeaky-clean hunters to get their game home. In addition, it led to bans on hunting in Zimbabwe and other African countries.
Hunting is a very important tool for wildlife management, though, as well as being an important component of the economies of the countries that allow it. The management aspect was made clear earlier this year, when one of Zimbabwe’s largest wildlife reserves announced it would have to relocate or kill up to 200 lions. This population problem had been kept in check before the Cecil incident, when hunting was allowed. But after the hunting ban, reserve managers were forced to deal with the lions themselves.
But one African country is not letting the anti-hunting crowds bully it. Namibia’s Minister of Environment and Tourism, Pohamba Shifeta, said he will not enact any hunting bans. In fact, he will actively campaign against any bans or hunting restrictions in his country.
He also said that the 5,000 hunters who come to Namibia each year are necessary to both keep animal populations in check, and that they provide the funds needed to protect conserved land and the very animals they hunt.
Maybe somebody should point that out to Zimbabwe.