Tuesday, 26 May 2015

NEWSLINK: Kapata lifts ban on hunting big cats

Tourism and arts minister Jean Kapata has with immediate effect lifted the ban on hunting of lions and other big cats enforced in January 2013, but cautioned that hunting should only resume next year. 

Kapata said safari hunting was profitable and good for off-take of wildlife and could benefit the whole country if well nurtured. 

 “The main thrust to safari hunting in Zambia is the cat hunting, which involves the hunting of the lion and leopard and that suspension of the hunting in the 19 blocs greatly affected the wildlife resources as well as the livelihood of the locals in the game management,” she said in a statement issued by ZAWA public relations officer Sakabilo Kalembwe. 

Kapata said government’s move to ban the hunting of lions and other cats in 2013 had a good basis with a background of weak regulatory mechanisms. 

 “Some problems that led to the ban included declining lion populations in some areas due to over-harvesting, hunting of underage lions and depleting of the lion habitats,” she explained.  “I am lifting the ban on the following conditions; the guidelines are drafted into statutory instrument so that they become part of the wildlife law; lion hunting should only resume in the 2016-2017 hunting season and not this year.” 

Kapata said only leopard hunting would resume this 2015-2016 hunting season but with “very cautionary quotas”. 

She noted that the leopard population was and is still healthy, but that hunting of this type of cat was equally stopped because lapses in monitoring aspects, hitches which have now been rectified.  

“Government convened experts in the region to assess the status of cats in Zambia and advise on the way forward. 

Based on the advice given and fresh information from the field, ZAWA has produced documentation that describes the status of the lions in Zambia and prescribed guidelines that will be used to regulate cat hunting in Zambia,” said Kapata. 

“Some of the regulatory methods are currently being used in Tanzania, Mozambique and Zimbabwe. 

These have been found to be effective. We are certain as a government that the methods will be useful in the regulation of cat hunting in Zambia.”

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