By Adam Ihucha
Published March 5, 2014
Hunters in Tanzania are at loggerheads with tour operators over the latterâ€™s intensified plea to the government to ban trophy-hunting in the face of elephant and rhino poaching escalation.
Though trophy-hunting is legal and rakes in millions of dollars for the country annually–US$50 million in 2013, up from US$20 million in 2012–Tanzania Association of Tour Operators (TATO) contends the negative impact of trophy hunting outweighs its return and demand the business be banned to combat poaching.
Willy Chambulo , TATO Chairman, argues that it defeats common sense to continue carrying on trophy-hunting in the face of a crisis that could lead to the extinction of Tanzaniaâ€™s big five animals at the expense of tourism.
For every wildlife killed legally during legitimate hunting seasons in Tanzania, Chambulo says, another is shot dead illegally by poachers, amounting to thousands of animals per year.
â€œAnd no one can tell the bullet killing our elephant comes from professional hunters or from the poachers. In this situation it difficult to control malpractice,â€ he contends.
But Tanzania Professional Hunters Association (TPHA) disagrees, demanding that tour operators be taxed much more heavily for the state to raise enough funds with which to combat poaching.
Mohsin M Abdallah, TPHA Chairman, proposes an exorbitant park entry and concession and camping fees paid by tour operators so that the government can generate sufficient funds for fighting poaching.
â€œWe propose the fixed US$250 park entry fee for Serengeti National Park, up from the current US$60, plus US$50 concession fee and US$150 mobile camping fee per day,â€ Abdallah says in his letter to Tourism Confederation of Tanzania (TCT).
For Kilimanjaro National Park, TPHA proposes US$300 Park entry fee, up from US$70, plus US$100 Camping fee and US$170–up from US$45 plus US$30 Concession fee and US$100 mobile camping fee for Tarangire and Manyara National Parks.
The TPHA proposal shows that Arusha National Park entry fee should go up to US$200, up from US$45 in additional to US$30 and US$50 concession and camping fees.
For Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority, TPHA wants fees raised to US$400 in addition to US$100 concession fee and US$150 Mobile camping fee.
TPHA demands Photographic safari guide license fee of US$1,000 per annum for Tanzanian citizens and US$3,000 for foreigners.
Official data shows that Tanzania is losing 30 elephants per day, or nearly 11,000 annually. Going by the present poaching rate, Tanzania’s 60,000 elephants could be extinct within five years.
Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute (TAWIRI)’s latest report shows that the giant Selous Game Reserve–a UNESCO World Heritage Site that boasted 38,975 elephants in 2009–now has barely 13,084.
Wildlife tourism in Tanzania continues to grow, with the country earning US$1.82 billion (about 17.6% of GDP) from an estimated one million guests annually; tourism provides 400,000 direct jobs to Tanzanians and more than a million people earning an income from tourism.
Sam Diah, a member of TATO Council, says it is high time Tanzaniaâ€™s government substituted photographic undertakings for trophy hunting.
â€œThe state should ban trophy hunting and switch to photographic activities in the face of growing poaching which threatens the survival of our wildlife,â€ Diah says.
However, Dr Edward Kohi, a senior TAWIRI Research officer, says that there is no scientific evidence that trophy- hunting is contributing to poaching.
An eTurboNews article