Wild animals are now once again fair game in Zambia, as the African country recently lifted a 20-month ban on safari hunting. According to Phys.org, the ban was put into place in January, 2013 due to allegations of corruption in the awarding of government hunting concessions, along with fears over the future of the country’s big cat population. But it seems holding off on the hunt has been too much for Zambia’s government coffers to bear, as the government says its revenue is suffering. “We lost too much revenue following the ban on hunting and the Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) had a lot of financial problems,” Zambian Tourism Minister, Jean Kapata told AFP.
Now that the ban has been lifted, fees for hunting will be increased, but the ban on killing big cats will stay in place. “Hunting will be conducted under laid down conditions and strict supervision from ZAWA. But the ban on big cats still stands,” said ZAWA spokesperson, Readith Muliyunda. That’s good news because while Zambia is trying to develop a wildlife tourism trade like those that fuel the economies of neighboring countries, its population of big cats is suffering pretty badly. “We do not have enough cats for hunting purposes. The cats are gone,” former Zambian Tourism Minister Sylvia Masebo said at the time the ban was put into place.
The ban was opposed by ZAWA before it was enacted because the organization said the country’s big cat population was a main attractor that made hunting in Zambia so popular. However, just before the ban was imposed, ZAWA’s director and senior officials were fired for alleged corruption in the awarding of safari hunting concessions. And while conservationists welcomed the ban, the country’s hunting community saw it as political meddling that would drive foreign hunters and their money to other countries.