Commercial Farmers Union of Zimbabwe

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Zim hails elephant trophy imports ban

Zim hails elephant trophy imports ban

Mr Jonga

Mr Jonga

Walter Mswazie Masvingo Correspondent
The Communal Areas Management Programme for Indigenous Resources (CAMPFIRE) has hailed the recent decision by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to lift the suspension on the import of elephant trophies into America. CAMPFIRE projects have been affected by the ban

In a statement, CAMPFIRE director Mr Charles Jonga urged United States of America president Mr Donald Trump to stand by the decision to issue import permits for sport-hunted elephant trophies.

“Zimbabwe’s Communal Areas Management Programme for Indigenous Resources (CAMPFIRE) hails USFWS’ decision to lift the suspension of elephant trophy imports into the United States of America. We encourage the USFWS and the President of the United States to stand by the decision to issue import permits for sport-hunted elephant trophies,” said Mr Jonga.

Mr Jonga said trophy fees and game meat from elephants had benefited communities to the extent that they were willing to commit land for wildlife. US nationals make up a large number of hunting clients.

“US citizens represent the largest share of CAMPFIRE hunting clients. CAMPFIRE communities have been negatively impacted by the suspension of trophy imports, and we look forward to increased benefits, and therefore additional conservation incentives, with the lifting of the suspension,” he said.

CAMPFIRE projects, he said, benefited communities in areas where the level of human and animal conflict is very high.

“CAMPFIRE enables local communities, especially those residing in areas where the level of human and elephant conflict is high, to benefit from wildlife through sport hunting.”

According to Mr Jonga, for the past 13 years, CAMPFIRE has continued to cooperate with the Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority in providing the required information to USFWS despite the suspension.

“Since the suspension of elephant trophy imports in 2014, CAMPFIRE Association has cooperated fully and worked closely with the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority to provide the necessary information required by USFWS.”

CAMPFIRE participated in the development of a National Elephant Management Plan, which generates about 90 percent of the programme’s income. Mr Jonga said elephant hunting contributed up to 70 percent of CAMPFIRE annual income.

“American hunters make up 60 percent of the clients in CAMPFIRE areas.”

Information gathered from safari operators under CAMPFIRE shows that the suspension of elephant trophy imports in 2014 resulted in the cancellation of about 57 percent elephant hunts booked by US nationals (108 out of 189).

“This translated to a sharp decline in income to the CAMPFIRE programme from US$2,2m in 2013 to an average US$1,7m in 2014 through to 2016, putting the conservation of elephant in these areas at huge risk,’’ said Mr Jonga.

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