September 15, 2002

Mozambique to Review Fee for Elephant Hunting

The Mozambican Tourism Ministry is considering updating the fees for hunting elephants and other species, such as buffalo and crocodile, which have remained unchanged for more than a decade.

The announcement was made by Afonso Madope, national director for wildlife conservation in the Tourism Ministry, who explained that the idea is to raise the fee from the current 500 to between 1,000 and 1,500 US dollars for the privilege of shooting an elephant. "The fact is that it is now more than 10 years since Mozambique fixed the fee for hunting animals such as the elephant, buffalo, crocodile, and others", he said, pointing out that hunting fees are much higher in other parts of southern Africa.

No legal big game hunting took place at all during the war of destabilisation, and the government only reintroduced it after the 1992 peace accord. Madope added that "Mozambique never adjusted the fees because it was still relaunching itself as a destination for tourist hunters. We also took into account that the country was just emerging from a war, and that land mines still infested many rural areas. To some extent, we used low fees as an incentive to attract interested tourists".

After 10 years of peace, and with the near completion of land mine clearance, the Tourism Ministry is seriously considering the issue of fees. Madope said the government wants to discuss the matter with companies that specialise in hunting. He explained that the ministry wants to hold a meeting with the hunting operators, particularly from the central province of Sofala, where most of them are based. Madope said that the idea is to have the updated fees introduced at the opening of the next hunting season, that starts in December. "During the meeting with the operators, we will discuss the fees, and we will try and bring the new figures as close as possible to those practiced in the rest of southern Africa", he said.

Madope dismissed allegations that there is no wildlife management policy in Mozambique. He insisted that merely having a policy is not sufficient for adequate management. "Other elements are necessary, such as human, material, and financial resources, to support and ensure the implementation of that policy", he said. Madope added that the challenge now is to try and find ways to encourage and create opportunities for participatory management, and to acknowledge the role of local communities. (AIM)

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