Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Suspicious tender at heart of Zambian hippo cull scandal


Umlilo Safaris advertisement for Hippo Hunting
Umlilo Safaris advertisement for Hippo Hunting

The proposed hippo cull in Zambia’s world-renowned Luangwa Valley has a dodgy tender process at its core and appears to be an attempt by Zambian Government to cover up a contract-gone-wrong.

This is according to a source close to the Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW), saying the Department was sued by Mabwe Adventures Limited, the hunting company contracted to execute the cull. A recent court ruling in Mabwe’s favour fueled the Department’s sudden backtracking on its 2016 anti-cull decision in order to avoid paying compensation, the source says.

Zambian Minister of Tourism and Arts Charles Banda confirmed that a contract entered into with Mabwe Adventures in 2015 was still valid, even though operations of the then Zambian Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) were taken over by the DNPW under the Ministry of Tourism and Arts.

The contract was awarded to Mabwe under suspicious circumstances. Zambia’s 2017 Parastatal Report notes not only an irregularity with the Mabwe tender, but also confirms that a sum of K81 108 Kwacha was paid to ZAWA by Mabwe.

The report instructed ZAWA, now the DNPW, “to desist from willfully disregarding Government procedures [and] to submit the report of the hippo culling exercise indicating the number of hippos culled as well as the supporting documentation showing the amounts paid to ZAWA for audit verification, after which the matter is recommended for closure.”

The local Luangwa Safari Association (LSA) also raised concern over the suspicious tender in a letter to the Ministry of Tourism and Arts last year, saying local safari authorities and associations weren’t “aware of any public Tender Advertisement for culling of hippos”. According to the DNPW source, local wildlife authorities within the Luangwa region are still working to void the culling contract for not following the legal channels, and for not considering any scientific of conservation management research.

The decision to cull will effectively allow South African trophy hunters into the world famous Luangwa Valley to hunt at least 1250 animals – 250 hippos annually for the next five years until 2022.

According to Banda, the “reason for [the] culling of hippos is to control the hippo population on the Luangwa River so as to maintain a suitable habitat for other aquatic species and wildlife in general.” An outbreak of anthrax, combined with low rainfall, also contributed to the DNPW’s decision to cull.

Scientists including those from Zambia’s own Wildlife Authority disagree.

A paper published in the International Journal of Biodiversity and Conservation in 2013 by Dr Chansa Chomba, who headed up the Department of Research, Planning, Information and Veterinary Services for ZAWA at the time, concluded that culls are ineffective in controlling hippo populations. In fact, the research found that culling rather stimulated the population growth in Luangwa.

“The act of culling removes excess males and frees resources for the remaining females, leading to increased births […] rather than suppressing population growth rate”, the scientific and peer-reviewed research states.

The claim of an ‘anthrax threat’ also falls short. Local conservation groups say “there is little evidence that culling will have any effect on a seasonal resurgence of anthrax. In a year when rainfall levels and vegetation growth have been normal, there is no proof that a cull of healthy animals would prevent any future anthrax outbreaks.”

Hunting authorities in the region are concerned, saying the “so-called cull is in direct contrast with all safari hunting concessions along the Luangwa Valley.” According to the Safari Hunting Concession agreement, stakeholders are not legally allowed to invite external parties into their territories for commercial hunting.

Mabwe Adventures founder and owner Leon Joubert states, however, that the hunting of the hippo would effectively be taking place in the river, which isn’t within the boundaries of the National Park or hunting concessions. He states that “if the National Parks want to hunt in the National Park, they can hunt in the river.”

The precedent set by this mass-slaughter in a supposedly protected National Park will blur the boundaries of conservation efforts in the National Parks of not only Zambia, but the rest of Africa. “The negative consequences for thousands of hippo and Zambia’s reputation as a wildlife tourism destination cannot be underestimated,” Born Free warns.

Marcel Arzner, a frequent and long-term photographic safari client who has spent thousands over the past three years on trips to the region, cancelled his upcoming visit due to the cull. “My cancelation will be followed by many others. The negative impact on Zambia’s
tourism industry will be disastrous”.

Hippos are currently listed as “Vulnerable” on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List.

Umlilo Safaris, a South African hunting company, is currently advertising the hunt to clients on behalf of Mabwe Adventures, Joubert confirms. The company boasts how clients can shoot five hippos per trip and keep the animals’ tusks. Each hunter will be charged up to $14 000 for five hippos, according to their Facebook site.

Banda and the Zambian Tourism Ministry has provided no adequate justification for the cull, spuriously condemning conservation NGO’s for not opposing the actions during a previous hunting spree from 2011 to 2016.

Source:IOL news


  1. “The decision to cull will effectively allow South African trophy hunters into the world famous Luangwa Valley to hunt at least 1250 animals – 250 hippos annually for the next five years until 2022.”

    When we tell you that there is no leadership in Zambia today and the President Lazy Lungu is useless you think its an insult simply look at those figures…

    • Your resources are being plundered and your cadre brain is unable to digest what is happening here all because of blind loyalty.

    • fedup – This is one crybaby @Ndanje Khakis posts things here but when challenged starts to throw his toys out of the pram like a silly baby ….really laughable….how did you conclude that this is a fake news; the author has given dates and his sources clearly on iol.co.za/ios/behindthenews/suspicious-tender-at-heart-of-zambian-hippo-cull-scandal-15995284 but since this does look good on the incompetent govt the crybaby labels it “fake News”…your grand children will asking why there are no animals in the so called National Parks and you wont have an answer!!

    • I like challenges from everyone except you. …you’ve no respect for other people. Just find someone else to bother. I am not the only person on LT.

    • You are a snowflake don’t post comments on blogs if you have no backbone….if you are looking for pen pals here you are on the wrong blog!!

    • Walasa Jay Jay!!
      Some of these Brain Dead P.F cadres are so.used to silly sycophantic non analytical brainwashed support, & easily get their wet feathers ruffled when one challenges their warped thinking, as they have water where the brain should be.
      You’ve made my day, by telling cadre ‘Mbanje Nkake” to go elsewhere if it needs a pen pal.

  2. Those Muzunguz were assuming whatever happens in our remote bushes, remains in the bushes. Little do they know, the World speaks for Luangwa!

    Dear Mr President, it is time to step in! The World is watching!

  3. When you have a corrupt theif as president , anything is possible.

    No contract is safe, no rule is safe all for quick cash.

    Especially when the corrupt theif says he will create 500k jobs and fails to do so…..anything goes. All illigalities are normalised.

  4. “Zambia’s 2017 Parastatal Report notes not only an irregularity with the Mabwe tender, but also confirms that a sum of 81 108 Kwacha (about R110 000) was paid to ZAWA by Mabwe.”
    Yet these Boers are charging Zambia,Luangwa Valley: Hippo Management Hunt 2018 & 2019!
    5 x Hippos PER hunter = 5 Full Days / 6 Nights (all included)
    1 x 1 Hunt: $14 000 / €11 750 / £10 500
    2 x 1 Hunt: $13 000 / €11 000 / £9 750

    And this is supposed by culling.

    • @HaJAYJAY, have you NEVER ever seen a scandal in everything that is done by a person from your clan? From Kalusha to Renard to Lungu to …! Hatribes Association of Zambia!

    • Sharon, you only see things through tribal lenses huh? Very narrow minded. You never discuss anything without referring to tribe or to HH. You show no evidence of objective evaluation of issues. To you PF and Lungu can never do anything wrong. Or maybe you’re part of the corrupt regime, who knows. Try to be objective in your analysis of issues and contributions. Don’t just defend issues on a tribal or party line. Again that’s being narrow minded.

    • LIE- DETECTOR – the best remedy for such trolls is to ignore them with time it will sink even accounts of trolls like Mushota run by several LT Admins tire themselves out!!

  5. Even when the president goes to the bathroom, like all people do including Hakainde, ANIMAL FARM is suspicious! I do not know where this tribal Horganiztion is trying to take our peaceful nation! Animo farm cried “Thief” when it saw Chitalu on this forum but NEVER cried the same or cry the same on his starring partner HH in the inside trading and enriching himself from Zambia’s wealth due to SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL TEAM stance in the unspoken blood covenant that runs in the bloods of Hatribes Association.

  6. When will Zambian ever learn that you don’t keep local players off the playing field in favor of foreign ones? Everything to do with exploitation of natural resources or indeed its appreciation is tailored to keeping locals out through exorbitant pricing! In turn those being favored rip you off with peanuts! Sadly the peanuts thrown at Zambians for protecting the natural resources do not trickle down to the common people forced to protect their resources which without accorded insight they see harvested while they stand by helplessly watching! Tourism is synonymous with visitations of mainly the light skinned straight haired ‘Caucasian’ stock, so is issuance of hunting concessions! In comes ‘Investor’ it is the same thing as an indigenous Zambian can not qualify for this category too…

    • Boers running these Trophy hunting companies are very smart they have exclusive lodges in these National Parks, they own small planes, they are pilots as well…so when their Russian Trophy hunter pays $10,000 all the money goes into their account in RSA….these evil hunting activities are of no benefit to the economy or the local community..they are not sustainable..if these Boers had their way they would have bought chunks of land and turned them into private ranches like they have in RSA.

    • Jay Jay…That’s very true. While clueless Lungu is fast asleep at the wheel, the Boers are busy selling Zambian resources, and laughing all the way to the bank. We currently have no competent leadership in Zambia. Just mediocre leadership and these foreigners know that. It’s like a huge billboard has been erected, announcing to the world to come to Zambia and get the natural resources for free. That’s what’s happening in Zambia. While other countries around us are taking charge, and striving hard to develop their countries, Zambia is still way behind. Rwanda is making leaps and bounds in progress, and is fast becoming a great tourist destination, earning them hundreds of millions of dollars per year. You would think Zambia would be making much more revenue from tourism. But I doubt…

  7. contd…. for archaic rules and benchmarks still apply to disadvantage participation! There is need to find ways to stitch back the head on a headless chicken for it to start seeing the grains and probably start picking better ones!

  8. To be honest as I am, this story is so badly written that it is incomprehensible. It does not present any information at all to support any position whether for or against the culling of the hippos. How HaJay Jay makes conclusions out of such trash would be incomprehensible if he were a normal or unbiased human being. But then we all know that as a upnd member he only sees things through his regional tribal lens and tries to escalate the distorted picture of what he sees to the national lebel. Bwana keep your Mapatizya to your regi9n where they appreciate you. And while at it please tell your h.h to go to a convention and try to legitimise himself.

  9. By the way are those victims in the picture related to HaJay Jay? Oh sorry, that is Luangwa and not Mapatizya or Mukuni.

  10. PF corruption has gone beyond imagination. Even killing hippos, tenders are a secret. Lungu please, even if you want money, even on dead hippos? What is wrong with you kanshi?

  11. This tender should be cancelled/nullified .Let all the hippos live in peace who are we to decide which animal lives and who dies.

  12. The Minister of Tourism is a disgrace. This is Trophy Hunting they are allowing by slaughtering these animals that can boost tourism and generate money. These are the results of hiring someone with no skills and education. They will end all our wildlife and then turn on people and start hunting them for sport! Shame on Charles Banda the conman behind the name tourism. Get en education first before accepting the ministerial role! Gone are the days when people were not held accountable for their actions. Clearly it shows an uneducated man managing a delicate sector. Lungu needs to go since he and his ministers keep messing up!

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