Uncontrolled, big game hunting is resurgent in Uganda. I believe big game hunting contributes to conservation if carefully controlled. Problem is, it’s not being controlled at all.
The only reason tourists first came to Africa was to hunt. One of the world’s greatest conservationist, Teddy Roosevelt, was a big game hunter.
That changed radically in the 1960s and 1970s, and as elephant poaching approached catastrophic levels, Uganda and Kenya banned hunting altogether.
That’s changing. The economic climate is so bad in East Africa, and growing elephant populations are so menacing, that both Kenya and Uganda are reconsidering their positions.
Reports surfaced today in Kampala that the Uganda Wildlife Authority was suppressing a completed report on a hunting experiment near Lake Mburo National Park in the southwest. The UWA commissioned the experiment eight years ago, and the presumption is the only reason the report is being suppressed is because it’s unfavorable to hunting.
And so hunting continues in that area, beyond the experiment’s end date, and with no report on how it went.
Worse, Uganda’s most prolific blogger, Wolfgang Thome, reported today that sitatunga, an endangered animal on CITES appendixes, is among the animals being advertised for hunting. Zambia, Cameroun and the Central African Republic also allow sitatunga hunting.
Click Here to read a report by South African businessman, Gavin Godfrey, who returned from a Ugandan sitatunga hunt in August operated by Lake Albert Safaris, a hunting company owned by South African hunter, Bruce Martin.
What’s interesting about this report is that it occurs outside the experimental zone presumably controlled by Ugandan authorities, on sequestered and little known islands in Lake Victoria. Moreover, the cost of the hunt is extraordinary, further underlining the stealth currently involved in Ugandan hunting.
Martin’s company normally concentrates in a gazetted experimental area at the north end of Lake Albert, and normally advertises for abundant game like kob.
Sitatunga is another matter. Sitatunga shouldn’t be hunted, and clearly the high cost will now attract the wealthy hunter around the world. It’s a lot easier to hunt in Uganda than in the jungles of Cameroun or CAR. The absence of the UWA report on hunting complicates the matter and further suggests graft at fairly high levels.
This is not how big game hunting should be managed by a responsible government.
The elephant populations in the last 5 years have been shrinking in Kenya due to increased poaching for the Chinese ivory trade, drought and loss of habitat due to a soaring human population. Ten years ago the population of Kenya was 27M, today it is 40M. Reintroducing hunting would push this maginificent species over the cliff…
I firmly DON’t belief in hunting as a conservation tool. Where wildlife is at the decline it has NOTHING to do with “conservation hunts” but with increased population and shrinking habitat.
As it has been proven – big game hunters don’t have morals. As soon as there is a species on the decline and becomes outragously expensive to hunt – the wealthy hunters will go for it – at any cost!
The leaders of African countries at one stage must explain to their children and grandchildren why they allowed foreigners to hunt their natural assets down to extinction!
Is there some way thru flooding the Chinese ambassador to the UN and Chinese embassies around world to harass them to the point of stopping the ivory trade? I know I sound completely naive. And don’t the Chinese still go after rhino horn as some sot of ground up aphrodisiac? There it is again, man and his obsessions.