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AWCF Brings Rural Communities And Hunting Companies Together For Win-Win Partnerships

The African Wildlife Consultative Forum meetings are bringing representatives from rural communities and safari hunting companies together for the first time to explore win-win business partnerships according to an article in the expressnews.rw.

The following are excerpts from the article, written by Emmanuel Koro, a Johannesburg-based international award-winning environmental journalist who has written extensively on environment and development issues in Africa.

“While both hunting companies and African rural communities have finally found each other on the need for a mutually beneficial business partnership, they face a collective threat from the western governments’ ongoing threats to shut down hunting. Queen Elizabeth II recently hinted that the UK could ban trophy-hunting imports from Africa in the future. Elsewhere, the US state of California nearly succeeded in banning African hunting trophies. And the destructive Cecil Bill currently under review in the US Congress would halt the importation of hunting trophies.”

“The other identified threat is that of animal rights groups, together with US-based and South Africa born comedian Trevor Noah’s lies that communities are not getting enough benefits from hunting.”

“Trevor Noah, I told him to stop lying and invited him to come and see for himself the hunting benefits in Makuya rural community of Limpopo Province, South Africa,” said Ms Esther Netshivhongweni. “Mr Noah has not told more lies on television since then. “I invited him to come and see the benefits of hunting in Makuya, but he disappeared.”

“This process would include addressing issues related to maintaining good hunting standards and showing how hunting promotes conservation of not only wildlife but biodiversity,” said Ms Netshivhongweni, Sustainable Tourism Advisor for Makuya Traditional Council of Limpopo Province South Africa. “This should also include communities benefiting from the whole value chain of hunting through the formation of a regional community-based hunting organization to better engage unfair criticisms on hunting as a conservation tool.”

CEO of South Africa-based hunting company, Africa Wildlife Services, Mr Louis Ebersohn said that they were also offering to do research working with universities and use the information to show the benefits of hunting to both wildlife and biodiversity conservation.

Meanwhile, the African governments attending the AWFC said that they recognized and welcomed the need to involve the rural communities in active ownership of their natural resources, including wildlife. This is in line with the June 2019 Africa Wildlife Economy call made by communities.

African rural community representatives are saying that “it is very wrong to talk about animal rights without talking about human rights.”

One of the key objectives of the AWCF currently under way in Victoria Falls is to review the progress that the African countries have made in promoting and growing its wildlife economy with special focus on the outcome of one of the biggest wildlife meetings held in and outside Africa in 2019. That includes the May 2018, Kasane Elephant Summit, the June 2019 Victoria Falls African Wildlife Economy Summit that western animal rights groups working together with Space for Giants tried to hijack but failed and the Geneva August 2019 CITES COP18 Conference where Africa suffered the heaviest losses ever in their proposals because of vote rigging.

Presenting a report on the African Governments working groups at the 11-15 November 2019 AWCF, Dr Cecil Machena, a Zimbabwean ecologist said that the African governments recognized the need for the continent’s rural communities to participate at the AWCF and CITES meetings. He noted that the SADC governments repeated their disappointment with the defeat of their proposals on the elephant, involving trade in ivory and live elephants as well as Zambia’s proposal to down-list its elephant population from CITES Appendix I to II. Let alone Namibia and Eswatini (Swaziland)’s losses in the bids to trade in live white rhinos and rhino horn trade.

 

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