In the next series of posts, I am going to ask you to think about things in a different way.
You see, I am going to be talking about trophy hunting, and that is not a subject that a lot of people want to hear about.
Let me define that…. Trophy hunting is when a hunter pays for the privilege of stalking and killing an animal so that he can have the trophy to place on his wall and then to enjoy as we would a piece of art. Now I probably lost a bunch of you right here…..
PLEASE KEEP READING
My husband, Michael is currently writing a book about the idea that trophy hunters are the main reason that there is wild-game still around. This is the gist…..PLEASE read all the way through.
The African country of Mozambique endured a 15-year civil war, ending in 1992. During this time, the villagers were faced with no food or jobs. After the war ended, they had to depend on poaching and subsistence farming to feed their families.
Enter Mark Haldane of Zambeze Delta Safaris……
He met with the villagers and explained to them his vision to restore not only the villager’s lives but also the ecosystem within which they lived.
The first step was providing protein. This protein would come from wild animals, however, rather than indiscriminate poaching, international trophy hunters would be the source of the meat. The meat from this closely-regulated sport hunting would go to feed the local villagers and the hunters themselves. The goal was to provide 10 pounds of meat per week for each of the local families. The villagers were doubtful!!
However, as time went on, they found that Mark was true to his word. Not only was red meat provided each week, but fish protein was also available through a fishing program. He also developed a community agricultural field.
Now, children and their parents are well-fed and enjoy a much healthier life!!
Every one of these additions came from the money of passionate sport hunters.
The improvements did not stop with food. Zambeze Delta Safaris was joined by the Cabela Family Foundation and The Ivan Carter Wildlife Conservation Alliance and together provided schools, housing for teachers, a clinic, a portable maize mill, and even a honey production program.
The next job was to find a way to curb the poaching that was still happening in the area. The answer was to establish an Anti-poaching team made up of the villagers who had once been poachers. Now they have fast-response teams that make use of motorbikes and even a helicopter. All of these were purchased with hunter dollars.
You may wonder how sport hunting differs from poaching. In both cases, animals are killed by ‘hunters’. However, poaching uses snares and traps to catch whatever animal happens to walk past. It doesn’t matter if it is a female or a young antelope and the suffering endured by these snared animals is great.
On the other hand, sport hunting works under government supervision, and there are strict quotas as to the number of animals that can be taken, AND only OLDER males are taken, leaving the young males, females and calves to continue to grow and repopulate the herds.
The monies paid by the hunters (license fees, community fees, and daily rates) go straight back into the local community and into anti-poaching efforts.
The villagers are not the only ones who have profited. Numbers of game animals have grown with the regulated hunting of their populations providing the funds necessary to suppress poaching. There are now 3,000 Sable antelope in the delta where they once numbered only 30. Only 1200 Cape buffalo remained when the Safaris Operators began their work, now there are more than 25,000 of these animals roaming the landscape.
Without the intervention of sport hunters, there would still be starvation among the people and the animal populations would continue to dwindle, eventually leading to the extinction of entire species.
WITH sport hunting, this portion of Mozambique has experienced a resurrection of both people and nature.
Over the next two weeks, I will be writing about our wonderful trip to the Zambeze Delta and will be showing you not only the hunting, but also the amazing things that are happening for the villagers.
I promise that you wont be subjected to any dead-animal shots!!
If you will stick with me, I think that you might be encouraged with what you see and might just be able to think about sport hunting in a different way.
Thanks for reading!!!
Now….let’s head into the bush!!!!