By Staff Reporter
ZIMBABWE, which boasts of a giant elephant population, is selling rights to shoot up to 500 elephants in 2021, Parks and Wildlife Management Authority has revealed.
According to ZimParks spokesperson, Tinashe Farawo the move is aimed at generating revenue.
Farawo said elephant hunting was allowed during the country’s April to October rainy season.
“We got the authority to hunt a maximum of 500 elephants and that’s how we make money,” Farawo explained, noting that a single elephant hunt could cost up to $10,000,” he told the media.
The parks spokesperson said those seeking to hunt for the giant mammal “require more assisting personnel like trackers, protective hunters and chefs.”
“All this will be paid for and means more for revenue,” he added.
However, groups protecting wildlife have expressed their displeasure over the move saying the hunting of wild animals threatened them with extinction.
The Swiss-based International Union for Conservation of Nature last month listed the African savanna elephant as “endangered” and the African forest elephant as “critically endangered”, citing population declines due to poaching and loss of habitat.
Both species had previously been treated as a single category and listed as “vulnerable”.
“Poaching has continued unabated despite trophy hunting under the guise of funding conservation,” said Simiso Mlevu, spokeswoman for the Zimbabwe-based Centre for Natural Resource Governance.
Mlevu also argued that hunters usually targeted large and healthy animals, leaving smaller, less aesthetically pleasing specimens that were less attractive to tourists.
Despite dwindling population numbers, Zimbabwe is faced with a surplus of elephants — estimated at around 84,000 for a carrying capacity of 50,000.
Recurrent droughts have added to the strain of overburdened national parks, forcing the pachyderms to seek food and water further afield.