Elephant hunting will be implemented in citizen hunting areas, community areas and concessions based on a quota system. Kitso Mokaila, Minister of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism this week told parliament that following the lifting of the hunting ban, his ministry has developed Hunting Guidelines on how hunting will be implemented in the country.
Mokaila was responding to a question from Member of Parliament for Nkange, Edwin Batshu who asked him to update the House on the lifting of the hunting ban and its positive effects in the Nkange Constituency, and to state, how hunting will be managed throughout the country in general terms, how hunting is going to be done in the Nkange Constituency and how such hunting is going to relieve the people in the constituency of the hardships they have suffered over the past three years when elephants drove and continue to drive them away from their ploughing fields, farms and cattle posts; and whether a decision by Government to drive these elephants to Wildlife Management Areas using helicopters has been abandoned; and if so, why?
Mokaila said it is anticipated that the issuance of hunting quotas for elephants will reduce conflict by driving elephants away from conflict hotspot areas. Other measures agreed by government to help reduce conflict include rehabilitation and erection of elephant proof fences in hotspot areas. He said his ministry continues to implement other measures such as the drilling of additional water points for wildlife in protected areas and wildlife management areas to reduce movement of elephants into settlements.
To this end, funding has been made available to equip additional water points during the current financial year to alleviate the impact of drought. He said the use of helicopters to drive elephants from settlements will continue. However, it has to be done in a responsible and prudent manner as this method has the potential of stampeding elephants which then creates a bigger danger for the public in the surrounding areas.
In a supplementary question Batshu wanted to know how this quota system would assist farmers as they start to plough around November especially that the elephants have reproduced and are camping in that area . He asked if government would avail the helicopters to chase away the elephants as promised during Kgotla meetings Mokaila assured him that hunting will commence immediately especially in the Tutume area because it is one of the hotspot areas. “What is good about that area is that the elephants are not resident, they visit. So we will give a quota whether it is over the counter licence or whatever so that the effect is immediate”.
He said that by virtue of buying helicopters and having them there, “I guess it is in readiness for, that is why I said it is a hotspot, and we will issue quotas immediately to deal with those”.