Zimbabwe is one of the top ten countries that offer big game hunts. Recent regulations passed in the USA now mean it is very difficult to import lions and lion trophies into the United States. The USA has also said that elephant trophies will not be allowed into the country from Zimbabwe until better community conservation management is in place. Zimbabwe has come up with an answer: bring in hunters from China and Russia.
The US #Government has been working with the country of Zimbabwe in an effort to get more commitment toward conservation through local communities for over two years now. Minister Kashiri said that the government will continue to engage with the US, but this will mainly be to lobby against the trophy restrictions.
Historically US hunters have been a major income source
Zimbabwe generated $45 million from hunting in 2014 and Kashiri has indicated that the country will continue to harvest animals in hunts in a sustainable manner. Despite the US government stance on hunting and trophy import, US hunters account for a great deal of the income generated in Zimbabwe.
The Southern Times #News reported that the Community Areas Management Programme for Indigenous Resources (CAMPFIRE), and local safari operators will be hard hit by US bans. Russians are already hunting in Africa. One Russian contributor to the African Hunting Forum has said he spends at least 120 days a year hunting in Africa.
US government has not banned all hunting trophies
Hunting has been a part of the wildlife management in Zimbabwe since the late 1960’s and despite international pressure, it's not likely to go away in the near future. The US recognizes that hunting of African wildlife can contribute to local economies, and indeed, hunting is legal though very carefully legislated within the US itself. At this time, the US is not banning all hunting trophies from Zimbabwe – but is focused on lions which they have declared to be endangered, and elephants that they feel could be better protected from poaching.
Africa has a history with the eastern nations
Africa is well used to the influence that western nations can have on their economy. Many African countries, including Zimbabwe, have at times suffered under trade sanctions. All the African countries with the exception of Liberia have a history of colonial governments and there is a perception that western countries interfere too much in African policy. This will not be the first time an African country has turned to the east for political or monetary gain. Both Russia and China have had deep involvement in the Zimbabwean war for independence and in the current economy. Zimbabwe will turn to those it perceives as friends and those friends often have a poor record when it comes to wildlife conservation. #Buzz