News from Around Africa

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Angola
On February 12th, the Angolan Press reported that “a specimen of the extinction-feared giant sable antelope was said to have been spotted by the provincial director of the Kuando-Kubango Forest Development Institute, F. Dala and a Rádio Nacional de Angola journalist at Luiana Wildlife Park in south-eastern Kuando- Kubango province.” Dala stated that “he saw the black antelope during an air trip over Luiana park, totally black and with curved horns” and was seconded by the RNA journalist.

African Indaba received an email from Pedro Vaz Pinto (Catholic University of Luanda) that there can be no question that the animal spotted from the air was a Hippotragus n. niger or common sable, since the observed area has always contained this sable sub-species. Vaz Pinto’s statement was supported by a third observer on the aircraft. This witness said “they saw a normal sable and [he was] surprised to see the false news”.

The Giant Sable Hippotragus niger variani occurs only in Malanje province in and around the Cangandala National Park. Vaz Pinto and his fellow researchers are in fact trying to obtain proof that pockets of this rare and beautiful antelope still exist in an ongoing project funded by Shikar Club and Dallas Safari Club.

Botswana
The value of top-of-the-line concession hunts was evident when Rann Hunting Safaris (rannsafaris@yahoo.com) offered 30- day, lion-only safaris to Botswana for a whopping $131,975 at the SCI Convention. The total includes $2,500 daily rate, $10,500 concession fee, a trophy fee of $20,000 and $10,000 Resource Utilization Fee. Rann Safaris was sold out through 2006 on the second day of the convention.

Kenya
On 26th January KWWG Trust Chairman Omara Abae Kalasingha sent an open letter to His Excellency, the Hon. Mwai Kibaki MP, President of the Republic of Kenya, regarding the GG Kariuki Bill (see African Indaba 3/1). For readers that wish to receive the entire letter contact Gerhard@muskwa.co.za for a copy. Kalasingha argues that “most Anglophone countries in Africa have similar wildlife laws to [Kenya]. That none have such monumental problems as we do, suggests that it is not so much the laws which are bad, as the manner in which they are applied here. Failure to correctly interpret and enforce the wildlife laws is rooted in the mismanagement of KWS. The present Wildlife Act is not perfect. However, with some minor modification, which is what the GG Kariuki Bill provides, despite its defects, it is workable and the Bill will resolve the immediate crises.”

Mozambique
The African Wildlife Foundation and the Mozambican Ministry of Tourism (MITUR) signed a Memorandum of Understanding in October 2004 to solidify and formalize their longstanding partnership to improve Mozambique’s wildlife conservation. The 600,000 ha Parque Nacional de Banhine will be one of the top conservation priorities under this partnership.

Niger
In September 2004 a team tried to inventory the Addax in the Termit Massif and the Tin-Toumma Erg in Niger. Other species like Scimitar-horned Oryx, Dama gazelle and Dorcas gazelle were also targeted. Dr. H. Planton indicated to the press that a small population of Addax estimated around a hundred was confirmed. Wildlife numbers in Niger have diminished significantly during the last 20 years. Scimitar-horned Oryx have very probably disappeared from Niger; Dama gazelles are on the way to extinction; Dorcas gazelle, the most common in Niger, has the status of “extremely vulnerable”. Niger’s 1998 Law Nr. 98-07 regulates hunting and the protection of wildlife; however, significant arrivals of hunters from Arab countries and non-respect for the laws on species hunted and hunting quotas are threatening wildlife survival.

South Africa
Land claims “could kill Kruger National Park” as African communities dispossessed under apartheid have claimed at least a quarter of the land in KNP, including its headquarters at Skukuza. If all the claims were validated, they "would probably cost the park its survival as a national park and an international icon", said SAN Parks communications head Wanda Mkutshulwa.

Tanzania
The reform of the Tanzanian hunting industry was advertised as the topic of a public discussion of the Wildlife Conservation Society of Tanzania (WCST) in Arusha. This national NGO supports sustainable use of wildlife, and the regular public lectures normally cover all aspects of wildlife conservation in the country. However in this case, intervention by the Chairman of Tanzanian Hunters Association (TAHOA) and the Director of Wildlife left the WCST Arusha branch with no choice but to call off the public discussion at the last minute.

In a subsequent letter to all members of TAHOA, the chairman strongly stressed how all members are satisfied with the current hunting system in Tanzania. This is remarkable and contradicts a "Call for Compliance" dated 20 August 2004 that was personally signed by the Director of Wildlife. This document was sent to every hunting operator and PH in the country, explaining the urgent need for the law to be respected. The Director cited problems that include "Professional Hunters failing to pay serious attention to the law, hunting of substandard trophies, disrespect of hunting block boundaries, wounded animals left in the field and the use of unauthorized and unacceptable weapons." (Both letters are with African Indaba)

Tanzania
The Society for Environmental Exploration (UK) and the University of Dar es Salaam is currently conducting research into the large mammal population of the Kilombero Valley. Estimates suggest that this area contains somewhere between 70% and 75% of the world’s remaining Puku (Kobus vardoni). The 2002 aerial survey suggests that the population has declined by 66%. The researchers blame the bush-meat trade and increased human settlement. Kilombero Floodplain was one of the finest unprotected wildlife areas in Africa. (Source Gnusletter, Vol23/2)

Tanzania
Belgian Technical Cooperation plans to develop an integrated management plan for the new Kilombero Valley RAMSAR site. Huge numbers of livestock brought into the valley by commercial pastoralists pose a major threat, however. Exact figures are unknown but could be several hundred thousand cattle, particularly in the dry season. These large numbers of livestock are displacing Puku and other species. Buffaloes that were once estimated at 40,000 now probably do not exceed 6,000.

Uganda
Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) chief Dr. Arthur Mugisha has given notice to resign as the executive director of UWA after having worked in the wildlife service for 16 years in different capacities. Mugisha is will work with Flora and Fauna International, a non-governmental Organization based in the United Kingdom.

Zambia
The rapid spread of the alien invader Mimosa pigra threatens the Lechwe population on the Kafue flats. The operators of the Lochinvar NP lodge have manually cleared an area close to the camp. The Zambian Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) has not implemented any control measures yet. It appears that the problem is entering an exponential phase with each plant producing about 200,000 seeds. If nothing is done, the loss of habitat will have a severe impact on the Lechwe and waterfowl populations. ZAWA does not have the funds or capacity to implement a control program and this would be an ideal project package for a donor organization to adopt. (J. Anderson, conserva@global.co.za)

Zambia
H. Kabeta of the Zambia Wildlife Authority expressed concern about government's allocation of title deeds to foreigners in GMAs without consultation of ZAWA. The Lusaka Post published a report that allocating land to foreigners in GMAs causes management conflicts and requested clear guidelines on the issuance of title deeds, since the Wildlife Act has no such provision, whereas the Land Act permitted it with permission from ZAWA.

Zimbabwe
The Herald reported that Parks and Wildlife Management Authority has urged farmers to venture into wildlife farming to generate foreign currency for the county since wildlife farming was the most profitable enterprise despite current economic hardships.

The spokesperson said that "on medium-sized to large properties, sport hunting has contributed significantly to foreign currency inflows in the country," and that income could also be generated from meat sales, photographic safaris, canoeing, and fishing apart from sport hunting. Of doubtful benefit is the statement that a farmer could venture into wildlife farming with a minimum of 500ha. Such small properties would certainly chase foreign hunters to other destinations.

Zimbabwe
The Parks and Wildlife Management Authority stated that Zimbabwe earned Zim$12 billion from the last hunting season; Zimbabwe has 545 registered hunters, the majority of whom are white and were taught professional hunting by their parents. The Authority plans to assist blacks to enter the hunting industry. In May 2004, the Authority established a hunting safari firm, Mgundumu Safaris, at Matetsi near Victoria Falls.

Zimbabwe
“Hwange National Park has now an elephant population of about 50,000 (1997: 31,600 - 2001: 44,500). Best scientific evidence suggests that more than approx. 12,000 would lead to a loss of biodiversity. Although the management of the park rests squarely on the shoulders of the Wildlife Management Authority, the power to determine the fate of Hwange’s elephants and the park’s diversity shifted into the hands of a global public represented through a multitude of national and international organizations that has assumed great authority with little knowledge or responsibility and which cannot be held accountable for what happens. Hwange and its elephants have become a global commons and a tragedy is in the making!”

Quote from Mike Jones (SASUSG) … and finally – observe the Lacey Act, or suffer the consequences!

4 US hunters who hunted in British Columbia with an unlicensed guide were charged under the Lacey Act, when they brought their trophies into the US. The Lacey Act makes it illegal to bring a trophy into the US or across a state line if it was taken in violation of local law. Darren Leggett was sentenced to 4 months home confinement, 2 years probation, fined $10,000 and forced to pay $20,000 restitution to USF&W. A Dakota rifle and a mounted stone sheep were forfeited. In BC he was fined C$5,850 and received a 5-year Canada-wide ban on hunting. Bret Roderick got a $30,000 fine and a 6-year hunting ban. He forfeited a Dakota arms rifle and a mounted mountain goat. Larry Pagel and Fred Souders each got a $18,000 fine. Saulnier, the unlicensed Canadian outfitter/guide was given the harshest sentence ever issued in BC for illegal hunting activities. After pleading guilty to 22 counts of violating wildlife statutes, he was sentenced to 6 months prison, fined C$20,000 and banned from hunting anywhere in Canada for 10 years. This includes a ban on possessing wildlife, firearms and archery equipment. A second Canadian, Kirk Porayko was sentenced to pay C$8,000, forfeited his rifle on top of 5-year hunting ban. Source: Hunting Report.

Source: African Indaba – an electronic newsletter as a public service for hunter-conservationists and all people who are interested in the conservation, management and the sustainable use of Africa’s wild natural resources. African Indaba is published six times a year and distributed free-of-charge via e-messaging service. You can subscribe to the full newsletter by sending an email with your full address to gerhard@muskwa.co.za.