Zimbabwe's decision to sell rights to hunt elephants causes outcry
Zimbabwe's recent decision to sell hunting rights to shoot up to 500 endangered elephants this year has been met with harsh criticism from local conservation groups.
Earlier this week, the government of Zimbabwe announced a controversial decision aimed at generating more public revenue amid the pandemic.
Legal elephant hunting was allowed during the April-October season. According to Zimbabwean officials, among the main reasons for such a decision was the declining tourism due to the pandemic-induced economic setbacks.
Lenin Chisaira, an environmental lawyer and the director of Advocates4Earth non-profit wildlife justice organisation, told Sputnik that killing endangered species for money was wrong both legally and morally.
"Moreover, in a country where such hunts and wildlife sales in the past have been shrouded in illegality and lack of transparency, there is no involvement of local indigenous communities nor democratic consultation with local environmental groups," Chisaira noted.
The environmental law activist stressed that the government of Zimbabwe should come up with alternative measures.
"Zimbabwe should consider eco-tourism where wildlife is as National resources and people heritage can be preserved without being killed for money by the rich," Chisaira added.
True Green Alliance CEO Ron Thomson, on the other hand, told Sputnik that the idea of selling hunting rights had to do with elephant population reduction as there were too many mammals at Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park.
"The idea is to maintain biological diversity. The habitat of the other animals cannot be destroyed by an ever-growing population of elephants who continue to wipe it all out. The elephants are destroying it. What will other animals eat," Thomson said.
Zimbabwe's elephant population reportedly exceeds the acceptable mark of 50 000. It boasts between 80 000 to 130 000 elephants on average.