Namibia awarded for hunt-based conservation


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Namibia has won a prestigious wildlife conservation award for its achievements in creating a sustainable balance that encourages humans and wildlife to co-exist successfully, with hunting at its core.

At the 11th Convention on Biological Diversity, held in India recently, Namibia received the Markhor Award, which recognises outstanding achievements “that link the conservation of biodiversity and human livelihoods through the application of the principles of sustainable use, in particular hunting, as part of wildlife and ecosystem management”.

The award is given by the International Council for Game and Wildlife Conservation (CIC), and for 2012 it made a joint award to the Namibian Ministry of Environment and Tourism and the country’s Association of Community-Based Natural Resource Management Support Organisations.

The award was named a species once-endangered goat that has made a remarkable recovery since trophy hunting was established around it.

“Namibia should serve as a prime example in terms of its innovative approaches to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, in particular its wildlife,” CIC president Bernard Lozé said.

“Sustainable hunting serves as a means to alleviate poverty and promote rural development,” he added.

The CIC says Namibian legislation and policies have enabled wildlife numbers to grow exponentially, on both private land and communal conservancies. While there is increasing evidence that globally and in particular in Africa the wildlife is often declining, the Namibian example shows that this is not a law of nature, the CIC stated.

CIC director-general Tamás Marghescu said the recipe for success was “the empowerment of the local human population to look after and to care for their own natural resources”.

“In Namibia, our people made a choice to say, ‘We will live with wildlife,’ and we do, with great success,” Namibia’s Maxi Louis said on behalf his nation’s communal conservancies, which have expanded dramatically in less than 15 years from to now cover almost a fifth of Namibia’s land.

The CUIC cited the success of Hartmann’s mountain zebras in the north-west, expanding from 1000 in 1982 to about 27,000 today.

During the same period, estimates show that the population of the desert-adapted elephants more than quadrupled, from around 150 individuals in 1982 to 750 today, the CIC stated. The lion population and range has also expanded there, and the nation has the largest black rhino population in the world.

Game is mainly harvested in Namibia for trophy hunting, live capture and sale, or for the distribution of meat, and this is guided by a strict system of quotas and permits for the communal conservancies.

Income from wildlife provides essential income and employment to keep communities functioning and healthy.

As a result, wildlife has become an asset, encouraging not just conservation but careful management. A flow-on effect that was recognised by the CIC was the fact that poaching becomes increasingly unacceptable in the communities.


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Mick Matheson

Mick grew up with guns and journalism, and has included both in his career. A life-long hunter, he has long-distant military experience and holds licence categories A, B and H. In the glory days of print media, he edited six national magazines in total, and has written about, photographed and filmed firearms and hunting for more than 15 years.

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