There are worrying signs that Namibia's legendary wild game numbers may be plummeting. Four years ago the Namibian Professional Hunters Association raised an alarm about the lack of huntable elephant bulls in the Caprivi region, where the number of communal conservancies had grown from one in 1997 to 15 today.
A professional hunter named Stephan Jacobs described a 2015 hunting trip to a conservancy in the eastern Caprivi as "the worst experience in my life" because there was so little game left. He said it was a crime to shoot anything.
"How could the MET (Ministry of Environment and Tourism) issue a quota for four hippos when there were only two small cows left in that entire stretch of the river?" he asked. "It's absolute insanity what is going on there."
According to MET, however, things are fine. In a letter to a local NGO seen by this reporter, acting permanent secretary and current environmental commissioner Teofilus Nghitila said communal game herds had tripled as result of the Community-Based Natural Resource Management approach.
Namibia, he said, was an African conservation success story and any suggestion to the contrary was evidence of a racist attitude that put wildlife ahead of Africans...