The Minister of Environment and Tourism, Pohamba Shifeta, has urged lodge and game reserve owners to refrain from unpermitted hunting which has contributed to illegal trophy hunting leading up to the killing of 77 rhinos last year.
According to data released by the ministry, illegal poaching syndicates made N$157 million from illegal hunting of rhinos and elephants.
The Minister of Environment and Tourism, Pohamba Shifeta urged owners of lodges and game reserves to refrain from unpermitted hunting.
The Namibian Trophy Hunting season opened on 1 February and will stretch until 30 November each year. According to the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, Hunting Guides may only conduct hunts on their own farm/reserves if they are registered as a hunting farm/reserve.
However, professional hunters may only conduct hunts on all game farms, provided they have written permission from the owner of the property whether the game farm is registered or not. Only a professional hunter with a big-game licence, may conduct hunts with guests for Elephant, Rhinoceros, Buffalo and Lion.
A hunting guide, master hunting guide or professional hunter shall accompany only two hunters to hunt simultaneously. The Minister also urged hunting professionals to comply with all the MET trophy-hunting regulations.
“It is illegal for lodge owners or game farm owners to allow hunting on their premises without a permit from the Ministry allowing them to do so. Even them as the owners are acting against the law if they hunt on their farm without permits,” Shifeta told The Villager.
Shifeta said the Ministry has game count annually to keep a closer eye on game farms and their hunting, adding that the Ministry is looking for more ways to keep track of gaming activity throughout the country.
The Epako Safari Lodge & Reserve, situated in Omaruru, cleared their name after being put in the spotlight for illegal hunting activities saying they do not offer hunting activities to its guests as they are not a hunting farm, but a “5 Star tourism accommodation establishment”
“The Epako Safari Lodge has, as for all previous years, proceeded to the renewal of its valid hunting permit (game destined for the lodge’s own use) already in the beginning of September 2015, well before the said permits expiration,” general Manager of the lodge, Dave De Villiers told The Villager.
The 2016/17 development budget has set aside an amount of N$213,189,000 for the Wildlife and protected area management programme, while the Tourism Development and Gaming programme has been allocated about N$81,485,000. The Planning, Coordination, Infrastructure Development, Maintenance, Monitoring and Evaluation programme received N$148,376,000.
In their budget motivation speech recently, the Ministry of Environment and Tourism requested members of parliament to approve an amount of N$581,961,000 for the execution of their mandate for the financial year 2016/2017.
Trophy hunting in Namibia, may be practised from half an hour before sunrise, until half an hour after sunset. Trophy hunting may take place only on properties where permission has been granted by the landowner.
The Namibian Professional Hunting Association (NAPHA) outlines that permits for trophy hunting must be issued prior to the hunt commencing, a separate permit must be issued for each individual hunting client, and that an extra.
A special permit is required for the large cats (Leopard, Cheetah, Lions) on condition that only a maximum of two trophies per species may be harvested, per hunting client, per permit, per year. This regulation is also made for game birds. This permits are only to be given out by the MET.
NAPHA also notes that it is illegal to transport black powder and percussion caps. These items can purchased in Namibia.
The immediate export of trophies from Namibia is possible only with a veterinary certificate, an export permit from the MET and the import permit as required by the country of final destination.