By Theophilus Chuma
THE country’s conservation management system is pinning its hopes on positive outcomes from hunting revenue this year to tackle various challenges, including growing burden of human wildlife conflict.
Five months after the hunting season opened, captains of industry are reporting a positive outlook which has seen an improvement in the uptake for photographic and non-photographic activities.
Compared to last year when the pandemic had a firm grip on international travel, expectation is that this season will likely record a notable improvement as travel opens to fully vaccinated tourists.
“We are comparatively better compared to our regional partners. Tourism feeds on itself the prospects at the moment are looking good,” said Dr Emmanuel Fundira, Safari Operators Association of Zimbabwe President.
This comes as good news for the country’s conservation management systems that have been struggling from funding gaps.
The Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority which has been struggling with revenues to support conservation programmes sees a silver lining in addressing urgent issues, including human wildlife conflict.
“Absolutely we are looking to utilise the revenues from the hunting season to support our programmes. As you know we largely depend on funds raised from these segment of tourism and therefore a positive outlook also means our conservation programmes will greatly benefit,” said Mr Tinashe Farawo – Zimparks spokesperson.
While this comes as a reprieve for conservation management, the nation still sits on an estimated half a billion United States dollars locked on an ivory stockpile weighing one hundred and thirty tonnes, with growing concerns over a ballooning elephant population.