Five black rhino males have been earmarked to be hunted as trophy animals following the latest approval and release by Cabinet of the hunting concessions from next year to 2017. These concessions all apply to state-owned land outside registered conservancies.
The approved concessions are Mahango Core Area and Mangetti National Park in the Western Kavango, Waterberg Plateau Park, Daan Viljoen and Von Bach Parks and Naukluft Area, which is part of the Namib Naukluft Park. The concessions will be awarded through a tender process.
The animals that can be hunted include the Hippopotamus, Crocodile, Sable, Lechwe, Eland, Elephant, Kudu, Impala, Warthog, Oryx, Klipspringer, Leopard, Roan Antelope, Spotted Hyena, Blue Wildebeest, Duiker, Steenbok, Buffalo, Giraffe and the Hartmann Zebra.
In 2007 the "National Policy on Tourism and Wildlife Concessions on State Land" was approved by Cabinet and provides directives and guidelines for awarding of tourism and wildlife concessions. Trophy hunting has been conducted under this policy for the past three hunting seasons (2009-2013), with revenue derived for the state. Such revenues have been reinvested in wildlife conservation and management through the Game Trust Fund. The same policy also provided incentives for black economic empowerment within the trophy hunting industry such as 20% discounts for the first year.
In the past, the Ministry of Environment and Tourism has been awarding hunting concessions for a period of three years, however the process resulted in higher transaction costs for the ministry as auctions have to take place every three years. This relatively short cycle also created problems for concessionaires on the marketing side. In the current proposal, the term of concessions is five years but with the condition that the ministry will reserve the right to renew the contract after three years as well as to adjust quotas as information is collected about the status of the indicated wildlife populations.
Companies that did not honour their previous trophy hunting concession contracts with the ministry or conservancies will not be allowed to participate in any sale of the proposed concessions. This also applies to any entity with directors or shareholders linked to those companies. To protect the local hunting industry from unlawful operators and to minimise risks, the ministry will announce the Conditions of Sale before the auction in line with the Tourism and Wildlife Concession Policy.
Trophy hunting is considered to be a lucrative industry in the wildlife sector. It removes mostly old, post-reproductive animals or single males, hence it contributes towards sustainable use of wildlife populations. In Namibia, trophy hunting takes place on commercial farms and communal registered conservancies as well as in proclaimed protected areas and on other state land. The country is ranked third in the trophy hunting industry in Africa after Tanzania and South Africa but is in strong competion with Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Mozambique.