Zimbabwe mobilises against UK’s trophy hunting ban

IN response to the United Kingdom’s impending legislation that could ban the importation of hunting trophies, Zimbabwe is preparing to send a delegation to lobby against the measure, according to a Cabinet minister.

The Southern Africa Development Committee (Sadc) has expressed significant concern over the economic and conservation impact the bill could have on the region if passed. The bill, which is set for debate in the British House of Commons this month, aims to prohibit the import of trophies from hunted large animals, such as elephants, lions and tigers.

Despite the defeat of a similar bill in the House of Lords regarding Botswana, Labour’s John Spellar has introduced another Private Members Bill targeting hunting trophies. The legislation could block British hunters from bringing home body parts of animals that are key to the tourism revenue of countries like Botswana and Zimbabwe.

Botswana’s Environment and Tourism Minister, Dumezweni Mthimkhulu, highlighted the need for a united Sadc front to oppose the bill during a briefing with journalists from Zimbabwe, Namibia, and South Africa in Gaborone. He warned of the severe ripple effects the bill could have across the region.

Zimbabwe’s Minister of Environment, Climate and Wildlife Management, Cde Mangaliso Ndlovu, echoed these concerns. 

“We are obviously very concerned, worried about the possibility of a ban on trophy imports into the United Kingdom. We are particularly worried because we have engaged the UK parliament before, we have made representations which we believe contributed to the previous decision not to have the ban affected or succeed through parliament. We understand that they are currently again in the process of debating it. We will be sending our team again into the UK, I think it will be mid-March to make a representation,” he stated. 

Minister Ndlovu highlighted past engagements with the UK parliament and the importance of hunting for conservation efforts.

“The ban (if the bill is passed) on the importation will literally leave a huge dent in the potential clients that come here and also sends a negative signal to the world around sustainable utilisation of our resources.

“We are having fast growing populations and we know that hunting  is an insignificant component of the population. We still have serious challenges managing our overpopulation, especially of big animals such as elephants. We are not sure what the rationale is around this proposed ban and we are not too sure whether they do not appreciate the contribution of sustainable utilisation to conservation,” he said.

The wildlife economy, including trophy hunting, plays a vital role in Africa’s overall economy, particularly in rural areas where natural resources support livelihoods and local development. Southern Africa is recognised for its successful biodiversity conservation, hosting significant populations of globally important species.

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