US ivory ban lift buoys safari sector

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Ivory

THE Safari Operators Association of Zimbabwe (SOAZ) sees a 30% growth in revenue following the lifting of an ivory ban by the United States, businessdigest has learnt.

By Kudzai Kuwaza

The US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) recently lifted the ivory ban on Zimbabwe imposed in 2014 .

The USFWS suspended imports of sport-hunted African elephant trophies taken in Tanzania and Zimbabwe, arguing that there has a been a significant decline in the population of elephants in both countries.

SOAZ chairperson Emmanuel Fundira told businessdigest on Wednesday that the lifting of the ban is a “monumental bonus” to efforts they are making to grow the industry.

“This development will see us gaining ground to compete and play our role in the United States which is a very important source market,” Fundira said.

“With the lifting of the ban and negotiations we are having with government, I can certainly say we will see unprecedented growth in the safari industry,” Fundira said. “We should exceed 30% growth in revenue considering the various nodes in the sector.”

The successful retention of both the elephant and lion on Appendix 11 at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora meeting last year has also been a major boost for the safari sector which had initially set a revenue target of more than US$100 million for the 2017 season.

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