AR-News: FW: Botswana battles to attract non-hunters
wolfcrest at hotmail.com
Wed Jan 14 20:50:52 EST 2004
>Botswana battles to attract non-hunters
>By Briony Hale
>BBC News Online business reporter in Kasane, Botswana
>The small airstrip at Kasane fills up with private jets
>April and September. They belong to American hunters -
>traditional tourists to Botswana.
>It is a lucrative business for Botswana - with hotels
>catering for hunters charging in excess of $1,000 a
>the privilege of shooting a lion costs more than
>But, after 30 trophy lions were sold off to be shot in
>government has vowed to end lion hunting and
>efforts on luring a less aggressive breed of tourists.
>The reason for the change in policy is simple. The
>lions are in
>danger of extinction.
>An expensive hobby
>Lion - $3,300
>Hippo - $1,300
>Buffalo - $1,250
>Ostrich - $950
>Baboon - $200
>Daily fee - $1,100
>Dip/pack trophies - $1,800
>Hunting license - $3,200
>Rifle permit - $200
>source: Hunters Africa
>In a recent study of lion conservation, which
>fieldwork in Zimbabwe and Botswana, wildlife expert
>David Macdonald found a shocking decline in the
>lions, a reduction of about 90% since the early 1980s.
>Mr Macdonald found that being shot - either by hunters
>farmers protecting their livestock - was by far the
>that the lions face.
>In future years, the nature of the killer is likely to
>lions are suffering from FIV, the feline equivalent of
>You can see the lions wasting away just like you can
>have Aids, explains Daniel Mughogho, head of research
>Department of Wildlife.
>It has killed many lions here in Botswana but well
>start to see
>the real impact over the next 10 years, he warns.
>In the north of the country, where the vast majority of
>Botswanas lions live, 70% of the lions are thought to
>The decline in numbers of lions is obvious to the
>Presley Mbeha, a safari guide in Botswanas Chobe park,
>there were about 45 lions along the riverside last
>year. This year
>there are only 25.
>One of the parks prides with 14 beasts was last seen
>towards Zimbabwe. Guides have recently only been able
>six lions together, with the others presumed to have
>The poachers come in search of other other animals,
>food, explains Presley, and the lions are shot at as
>well - either for
>sport or for safety.
>Botswana also points the finger at its other neighbour,
>where farmers are still shooting the lions in order to
>livestock. The accumulation of cattle is the
>traditional way to
>invest money and ensure children have a secure
>both Namibia and Botswana.
>The government decided to make the shooting of lions
>illegal in 2001,
>and instead set up a system to recompense farmers for
>But Mr Mughogho says the system is not working, with no
>enforce the law or prove that livestock has indeed been
>killed by lions.
>The battle to save the lions is all part of Botswanas
>to develop its tourism industry.
>Aside from diamonds - the finite source of Botswanas
>riches - the
>country cannot boast of any other industry that has
>contributed to the economy.
>Louis Nchindo, managing director of Debswana the
>diamond company, is critical of his countrys failure
>on tourists. Many guide books reviewing Africas
>that Botswana is too expensive. And only about two
>a year chose to visit Botswana - thats nearly four
>times less than
>neighbouring South Africa.
>The philosophy of managing hunters has persisted,
>says Mr Nchindo,
>who is now building a new hotel in a bid to attract
>those tourists looking
>for a cheaper holiday.
>Our tour operators have been spoilt by the hunters:
>they still believe
>they can charge the kind of money that suggests the
>animals belong to
>the visitors rather than to our country, he says.
>The attempt to lure more tourists to Botswana is a
>tough one at present.
>The country has suffered because Zimbabwe is the
>traditional point of
>entry - the Chobe national park is just a short drive
>from Victoria Falls.
>As many tourists avoid Zimbabwe, so Botswana is also
>off the list of destinations.
>And the moratorium on shooting lions - the prize of the
>hunters - is
>undermining the more traditional breed of tourism who
>While the battle to track down more tourists may seem
>like an uphill
>battle, there is another, even tougher fight to be
>fought: ensuring the
>lions will be there should should the tourism industry
>Story from BBC NEWS:
>Published: 2004/01/12 11:35:16 GMT
>© BBC MMIV
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