THE Ministry of Environment and Tourism has come under fire for issuing a permit for 70 zebra and “an unknown number of gemsbok and springbok” to be shot in the Okondjombo conservancy in the Kunene Region.
According to Koos Verwey, who has been a tour operator in the area for over 22 years, it doesn’t make any sense to allow hunting on this scale during December when many female animals are pregnant.
Furthermore, Verwey lashed out at keeping “meat on this scale for human consumption” because it “poses another serious problem”.
The hunt started on December 11, he said.
He also took issue with the apparent absence of an official of the environment ministry.
Verwey is also concerned about whether or not wounded animals are tracked down and killed. “Anybody who has shot a zebra knows how tough they are. You very seldom get closer than 300 metres from such an animal. Are wounded animals followed and killed? I am so gatvol (fed-up) with this nonsense.”
He added that he could not imagine in his wildest dreams that a hunting zone can include a main tourism route.
“Why then has hunting taken place in an area that is not allocated? This is making a mockery of conservancy legislation and it is also happening in other areas all the time.
“Our concerns are not linked to the fact that hunting takes place, [but] the way in which it is done is a disgrace for development of the conservancies,” Verwey emphasised.
Kalumbi Shangula, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, yesterday confirmed the hunt.
He said the zebra hunting quota of in this conservancy was set at 70 at the beginning of the year.
The number of animals allowed to be shot depends on the game population in the area and a quota is determined which would be within the carrying capacity of the area so as to regulate the population, he said.
“Because it’s not a trophy-hunting [permit], it can be issued at any time of the year,” Shangula said.
He said no pregnant mares were killed.