The Tanzanian government confirmed this week that hunting tourism will continue in Tanzania, stating that it contributed to wildlife conservation objectives.
The statement was released in response to a proposal that was put forward by the Lusaka Agreement Task Force (LATF), which seeks to uphold the Co-operative Enforcement Operations Directed at Illegal Trade in Wild Fauna and Flora in eight African countries. The proposal suggested that member countries should suspend hunting tourism until sustainable laws can be developed to govern the practice.
The Director of LATF, Bonaventure Ebayi, made claims that legal tourism hunting encouraged the practices of wildlife poaching and smuggling during a workshop in Arusha last week. However, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism, Adelhelm Meru, disputed this claim.
“History has shown us that there has never been poaching in hunting blocks managed by hunting operators in Tanzania,” he said. “If hunting tourism is suspended instead of having legal hunting there will be illegal hunting.”
Meru pointed out that hunting was currently allowed under strict quotas set by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), an international treaty which seeks to prevent overexploitation and trade of endangered species.
Eric Pasanisi, Chairman of the Tanzania Hunting Operators Association (TAHOA), supported Meru’s comments, saying that “abandoning tourist hunting blocks will amount to exposing our wildlife to poachers. The suspension will be counterproductive to the intention of the advocacy campaign for community to value their natural resources.”
Pasanisi said that 65 percent of the money used for wildlife conservation came from legal hunting concessions.