The usual suspects try again to reintroduce trophy hunting to Kenya

From ANIMAL PEOPLE,  September 2013: (Actually published on October 8,  2013)

It is now official that cropping,  defined as “harvesting of [wild] animals for a range of products,”  including meat,  horns,  and hides, may be re-introduced to Kenya through the newly proposed Wildlife Conservation & Management Bill,  2013.   Permitting cropping,  which was explicitly banned in November 2003,  will undermine the sport-hunting ban in effect in Kenya since 1977.  It will also in a big way demotivate nations that look toward Kenya as a conservation model,  such as Botswana,  which in November 2012 banned sport hunting,   effective in September 2013. Those who have exerted pressure to include cropping in the 2013 Wildlife Conservation & Management Bill are the same people who pushed a 2004 bill to repeal the ban on sport hunting,  introduced by G.G. Kariuki,  then a Member of Parliament for Laikipia West. Pressure from large ranch-owners led to an experimental cropping in 1991,  which was  initially to run for five years,  but was allowed to continue for 13 years.  An evaluation done by Tasha Bioservices Ltd. established that corruption,  mismanagement,  and abuse of the designated quotas were flagrant in the experiment. One finding was that cropping led to poaching for bush meat.  This was because local people who lived with animals did not benefit from the wildlife like the ranchers who were licensed to crop.  Ultimately,  this report led to the suspension of the cropping experiment. Ranchers clamoring for cropping must be reminded that much of the wildlife on their land migrates from national parks and reserves. Data from the Department of Remote Sensing and Survey indicates that Kenya’s wildlife population has declined by more than 58% in the last two decades.  Do we imagine that the Kenya Wildlife Service will be able to regulate cropping,  as an additional chore,  when it has been unable to stop poaching of keystone species as elephants and rhinos? A 2007 survey of local communities in 21 regions of Kenya found that 76% of them opposed sport-hunting,  cropping,  and culling of wildlife,  for reasons ranging from adverse effects on tourism to the threat to national security which could result from proliferation of small firearms. Kenya should also take heed of the experience of other nations that have practiced “consumptive utilization” of wildlife,  also known as “sustainable use.” For instance, the hunting-centered Community Area Management Programme for Indigenous Resources in Zimbabwe has failed to achieve its official objective of ensuring that rural communities benefit.  Scholars from the University of Zimbabwe have found that local households receive as little as $1.00 to $3.00 per year in dividends from CAMPFIRE,  while district councils retain 50% to 90% of the revenue. In West African countries that allowed consumptive utilization,  including Nigeria,  Ghana,  Ivory Coast,  Cameroon and Liberia,  there is hardly any wildlife left.  In Tanzania,  local communities have strongly decried hunting,  particularly in Loliondo,  where a Dubai-based company has been accused of organizing wanton wildlife massacres. Cropping contradicts all of the wildlife conservation and tourism principles that Kenya has stood for over the years. ––Josphat Ngonyo, Executive Director Africa Network for Animal Welfare P.O. Box 3731-00506, Nairobi,  Kenya Phone:  +254-020-600-6510   Cell: +254-722-243-091  <jos@anaw.org> <www.anaw.org>

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