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Zimbabwe To Sell 'Hunting Rights' For Endangered Elephants To Boost Tourism

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Zimbabwe To Sell 'Hunting Rights' For Endangered Elephants To Boost Tourism

Zimbabwe is set to soon allow up to 500 elephants to be killed by hunters in a move to boost tourism.

The African country has been crippled by the coronavirus pandemic and has been looking at ways to bring in more tourists now that restrictions are easing.

One of the options that will 'soon' be brought in is selling 'hunting rights' to animal killers.

Tinashe Farawo, a spokesman for the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority, told CNN the plan will hopefully bring some money into the country.

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"We eat what we kill. We have a budget of about $25 million for our operations which is raised, partly, through sports hunting, but you know tourism is as good as dead at the moment due to the coronavirus pandemic," he said.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

It will cost hunters between $10,000 to $70,000 to kill elephants in the country's parks, with the cost based on the size of the animal.

Zimbabwe has the second largest elephant population in the world, with neighbouring Botswana only just eclipsing it.

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Despite this, the hunting plan comes at a time where the African forest elephant was recently declared critically endangered and the African savanna elephant is now endangered.

The new International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species has highlighted how the elephant population has declined.

The number of forest elephants has fallen by more than 86 per cent over three decades years and the savanna elephants population has dropped by at least 60 per cent over the last 50 years.

Unsurprisingly, animal conservationists are furious over the hunting rights plan.

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Credit: PA
Credit: PA

Simiso Mlevu, a spokeswoman for the Center for Natural Resource Governance, is calling on Zimbabwe to backtrack on it.

"We strongly condemn trophy hunting, a practice that agitates wild animals and escalates human-wild life conflicts," Mlevu said to CNN.

"It is almost certain that surviving families of wildlife families that witness the senseless gunning down of their family members mete out vengeance on the hapless local villagers."

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But Mr Farawo from the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority has hit back at the criticism and said they have to get money from somewhere.

"How do we fund our operations, how do we pay our men and women who spend 20 days in the bush looking after these animals?" said Tinashe. "Those who are opposed to our management mechanism should instead be giving us the funding to manage better these animals."

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: Extinct, Africa, News, elephants, Hunting, Animals

Stewart Perrie
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