The ban on trophy hunting that was imposed in 2014 to address decline of wildlife species has resulted in loss of jobs and revenues among local communities that rely on hunting activities. The chairman of Community Based Natural Resources Management Forum Dr Olekae Thakadu said hunting ban was quickly imposed without considering whether photographic hunting was sustainable or not. He emphasized that there are some concessions where photographic hunting is marginal and these are the most affected areas. He added that even during trophy hunting some areas did not attract many tourists and shifting to photographic had made things worse to those areas. Dr Thakadu – a research scholar at Okavango Research of Institute based in Maun – noted that for the past 20 years since the inception, CBRNM has succeeded in achieving either biodiversity conservation and improving rural livelihood in the country.
He said Community Based Organisations (CBO) or Trusts such as Khwai, Sankoyo, Mababe and others had a significant of people employed in CBRNM projects before the number of them went down after the hunting ban in 2015. Dr Thakadu said those who were employed were able to fully support their families thereby raise the standard of living in the household. He said after the hunting ban a number of jobs were lost, community projects suspended, most social services were also suspended. He insisted that restricting safari hunting represents a retrogressive step and a top-down imposition that would reduce the probability of wildlife-based land uses in many rural areas, and reduce community earnings and buy-in to wildlife conservation. After the hunting ban income generation for Mababe Trust dropped from P3.5 million to P500,000 and have led to 30 job losses and Sankoyo’s income dropped from P3,5 million annually to P1.8 million and led to 35 job losses. The Okavango Kopano Mokoro Community Trust (OKCTM) income dropped from P4.8 million to P2.5 million and led to 40 job losses.
The Chairman of Sankoyo Tshwaragano Community Trust Haku Galesenngwe said his trust is the most affected by hunting ban. It was imposed on them without being prepared first for it and they are struggling to adapt to photographic hunting, he said. However, there are some trusts that have shown positive impact on photographic hunting such as Khwai Development Trust (KDT). KDT is considered one of the richest in the district and has long shifted to photographic hunting before hunting ban was imposed in 2014. The outgoing Chairman of Khwai Development Trust Baruti Sango confirmed that they have not been affected by hunting ban since they were the first trust to adapt to photographic hunting after being piloted on them in 2009. “Hunting ban has not affected us at all since we have long shifted from the model,” Sango recalled