THE Safari Operators Association of Zimbabwe (Soaz) is looking for alternative markets to export their sport hunted trophies after the US Fish and Wildlife Service extended the ban of trophies from the the southern African country to the end of the year, an official has said.
“In Zimbabwe, available data, though limited, indicate a significant decline in the elephant population. Anecdotal evidence, such as the widely publicised poisoning last year of 300 elephants in Hwange National Park, suggests that Zimbabwe’s elephants are also under siege,” the organisation said of its decision to slap the ban in April this year.
Soaz chairman Emmanuel Fundira told businessdigest in an interview on Wednesday that they had met with Environment minister Saviour Kasukuwere two weeks ago to discuss ways to reduce the devastating impact of the ban which includes looking at other markets.
“We met with Honourable Kasukuwere two weeks ago to find strategies to reduce the impact of the ban,” Fundira said. “One of the strategies is looking for alternative markets such as central Europe and Russia but the value derived will not be as high as that of the source markets.”
Fundira added that they will continue lobbying for the lifting of the ban and incorporate countries from the Southern Africa Development Community. He added that they would take advantage of the Africa Wildlife Consultancy Forum to be held in Ethiopia later this year to lobby against the ban.
The ban will affect 65% of the market which is from the Americas including North and South America. This could result in massive job losses as well as affect the livelihood of at least 800 000 households under the Communal Areas Management Programme for Indigenous Resources, a community-based natural resource management programme in which rural district councils, on behalf of communities on communal land, are granted the authority to market access to wildlife in their district to safari operators.