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Kenya considers hunting issue

 
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 19, 2006 6:40 pm    Post subject: Kenya considers hunting issue Reply with quote

Kenya considers the life and death issue of its game
Financial Times (UK)
Comment & Analysis; Page 11 http://www.ft.com/cms/s/7bb09ce02e5511db93ad0000779e2340.html
August 18, 2006
Byline: Andrew England

HUNTING: Landowners want to overturn a 1977 hunting ban to better manage animals in the wild, but their opponents claim it is simply a ploy to legitimise slaughter.

As Andrew Cole, the seventh Earl of Enniskillen, reminisces about life on his father's 60,000 acre sheep and cattle ranch in the heart of east Africa, he conjures up images of a forgotten time.

White settlers, many drawn from the British aristocracy, lived side by side with the region's abundant wildlife.

"There was a rhino in every bush. They were a menace, there were hundreds of them, so the fact that you shot one, it was not just sport or slaughter, it was sometimes self defence," he recalls. "Part of being a farmer was to carry a gun, protect your stock and shoot the odd animal for the pot."

Today, the tall, lean 64 year old, with a no nonsense manner born of six years in the Irish Guards, is still surrounded by game. But Kenya is a radically different place, and a highly charged debate is under way among conservationists about how best to ensure the survival of the country's fast disappearing wildlife.

Lord Enniskillen is among a group of landowners pressing to overturn a ban on hunting introduced in 1977. They argue that wildlife has to be managed if it is to survive. But anti hunting groups say such a move would simply legitimise the slaughter of what is left and provide a shield for increased poaching. At Lord Enniskillen's current 1,200 acre ranch, nestled on the edge of Lake Naivasha in the Rift Valley, wildlife still roams free.

He says he has not shot on the property since buying it in 1982 and describes himself as a conservationist. Nor, he insists, is he pining for a bygone era when hunters would go out into the "boondocks, shoot anything and put a trophy on every wall". Rather, he argues, the re introduction of hunting is about giving wildlife a value and creating an incentive to protect it.

"If it has no value it will be destroyed," Lord Enniskillen says, driving across his sun parched land dotted with acacia trees, one arm off the steering wheel as he points at antelope, buffalo and giraffe sauntering across the horizon.

James Isiche, regional director of the International Fund for Animal Welfare, one of the more influential anti hunting groups, encapsulates the views of opponents. "How can you say killing what we have left will save it? That's the disconnect." He adds: "We are looking at elitists, large landowners, these are the kind of people driving this debate."

The terms of that debate were set in February when a "think tank", which drew its members from the state run Kenya Wildlife Service, the East African Wildlife Society, a conservation organisation, and landowners including Lord Enniskillen, made a series of recommendations to the government. The group concluded that "sustainable, science guided consumptive utilisation" should be introduced. If the recommendations were adopted it would be the first step towards assigning a monetary value to wildlife such as eland, buffalo and zebra.

White aristocrats are not alone in pushing for change.

Ali Kaka, executive director of the East African Wildlife Society and a member of the think tank, says: "Ideally we would live and see wildlife and let it be, but it's not the reality. If we continue with the attitude that wildlife cannot be touched and should just be looked at, then there's no real future for it." On one point there is general agreement: the government has never been serious about wildlife management and a new policy is desperately needed.

Kenya still makes a considerable amount from its wildlife last year tourism generated Ksh42bn (Dollars 577m, Euros 448m, Pounds 304m), 80 per cent of which was wildlife related, according to the Kenya Wildlife Service. But the pro hunting lobby counters that little of that is seen by the communities that have to live and contend with the animals.

In Tanzania, which earns about Dollars 12m (Euros 9.3m, Pounds 6.3m) a year from hunting, clients pay up to Dollars 80,000 for a 21 day hunting trip with a licence to shoot buffaloes, lions or leopards under strict quotas. The revenue is roughly split between the tour operator with the hunting concession and the government. Under a pilot scheme in Uganda the latest country to dabble with the re introduction of hunting local communities, district administrations and landowners in the area of the concession received about Dollars 150,000 between 2002 and 2005.

Damian Akankwasa, head of the Uganda Wildlife Authority, says the pilot was initiated four years ago in an attempt to reduce poaching, adding that the community is already living in greater harmony with its wildlife. While he could not provide detailed data, he insisted the animal population had increased.

"Now nobody can carry a spear because the community is against poaching before they would connive with them," he says. "They get more money if an animal is shot on their land than they can from 10 cows."

However, opponents of hunting scoff at the idea that it could be conducted transparently and without abuses in Kenya.

"They are living in a bubble," says Dame Daphne Sheldrick, a prominent conservationist, who represents a third group in the Kenyan debate.

Born and bred in Kenya, although still a British citizen, Dame Daphne, 72, grew up among hunters and has worked with wildlife for more than 50 years. She runs an elephant orphanage, the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, on the edge of Nairobi National Park and she is visibly angered that Kenya could even be considering legalising the killing.

"It (wildlife) should have a value living, not dead," she asserts.

Dame Daphne believes landowners and local communities could benefit from the wildlife by moving to eco tourism, such as providing walking and riding safaris, activities the national parks do not offer.

Julius Kipng'etich, director of the Kenya Wildlife Service, and a trained economist, says more analysis is needed, but fully supports the view that a "drastic decision" needs to be taken if the decline in wildlife is to be halted.

"For me at this stage of our development I would like to see more studies, more research, really understand the issues," he says. "There's a lot of emotion to it and from my background I don't like emotion. Let's deal with the facts, and once the facts are clear, let's deal with the emotions later."
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NeilMac



Joined: 28 Jun 2006
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 20, 2006 12:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm broadly in agreement with Mr. Kaki:

Quote:
Ali Kaka, executive director of the East African Wildlife Society and a member of the think tank, says: "Ideally we would live and see wildlife and let it be, but it's not the reality. If we continue with the attitude that wildlife cannot be touched and should just be looked at, then there's no real future for it." On one point there is general agreement: the government has never been serious about wildlife management and a new policy is desperately needed.


The "don't kill anything" argument is about as persausive as the "kill everything that moves" argument. (Not that anyone is promoting the latter point of view.)


Best wishes,

Neil Mac'[/url]
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NKT



Joined: 08 Jul 2006
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 21, 2006 1:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A lot of dreamers out there, aren't there?

Farmers don't keep cows because they smell nice, they kill some and eat them, sell others, breed more, and milk them too. Saying "All the cows must live!" would be the same as killing them all, as they would suddenly become worthless.

The same thing holds true for wildlife, which otherwise will be killed or displaced for room to put cows, which are worth money. Sadly, even a cow or a buffalo has to pay it's way in the world today.
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Mick F
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 21, 2006 11:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was out there last month and there's plenty of game and scope for properly introduced hunting in my view from what I saw then and on my last trip. Must admit, I thought you could do it. And if someone tells me that the lads in the bush with their spears aren't taking any, I've got a nephew who lives in the Netherlands.
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