Ploy to ban international trophy hunting at odds with Africa’s interest, a Zambian perspective

Trophy hunting

By Emmanuel Koro

Zambia’s Green Economy and Environment Minister, Collins Nzovu has confirmed that international hunting is benefiting hunting communities and supporting wildlife and habitat conservation in his country.

Minister Nzovu’s confirmation of international hunting’s socio-economic benefits to Zambian communities as well as its support towards wildlife and habitat conservation comes at a time when the British Government is being pressurised by the anti-hunting animal rights groups there, to demonise international hunting and ban hunting trophy imports worldwide including hunting trophies of Africa’s big five.

Accordingly, Minister Nzovu has warned that any future trophy hunting import bans would take away international hunting benefits from the African hunting communities and also remove incentives for community wildlife and habitat conservation, in Zambia and Africa.

He said that Zambian hunting communities have continued to benefit from international hunting under a “50-50” hunting revenue benefit-sharing arrangement with the Zambian Government. Minister Nzovu said that the other socio-economic benefits include the “construction of schools in hunting .

“We have 50-50 share between communities (hunting communities) and the Government,” said Minister Nzovu adding that the “50-50” international hunting revenue benefit-sharing arrangement is supported by a Zambian Government “statutory instrument.”

Meanwhile, local and international observers continue to warn that “without international hunting benefits the rural communities all over Africa will see no value in wildlife and would rather collaborate with poachers to kill the continent’s big game such as rhinos, elephants, leopards, lions and buffaloes.”

“We can only encourage them (countries that want to ban international hunting) to learn from the people who are doing and have done it (international hunting),” said Minister Nzovu.

“If they (anti-international hunting countries) feel that they don’t get any key learning from it, they should learn from the people that are co-existing with wildlife (African hunting communities).”

One of Zambia’s most stunning mindset-changing hunting benefits during the 21st Century were recently experienced in the South Luangwa community that opted to accept a previously taboo culture of family planning, so that they could prevent human overpopulation that would result in them taking up wilderness land set aside for wildlife hunting and conservation.

Elsewhere in Zambia, the international hunting benefits have also enhanced the anti-poaching culture in Zambian rural communities of Kazungula District, right in the heart of the world’s richest wildlife area, the Kavango-Zambezi (KAZA) Transfrontier Conservation Area (TFCA).

In a recent interview, Mr Roy Seemani, Acting Ranger of Zambia Department of National Parks and Wildlife, in charge of Mulombedzi and Sichifulo Game Management Area (GMA), said that the local communities “have continued to show a progressive shift towards wildlife and habitat conservation, incentivised by hunting benefits.”

“Local communities’ perceptions towards wildlife are much better compared to the previous years when they used to poach wildlife because it didn’t bring benefits to them,” said Mr Seemani.

He said that the hunting companies “help create employment” in the hunting communities.

They sign contracts that make it mandatory for them to ensure they employ 30% of people from local communities, pay for wild resources monitoring, in order to evaluate the use and conservation of resources, including fire management.

The companies also pay for anti-poaching operations.

“Some of the hunting revenue is also used to support community livelihoods, including the construction of community clinics and schools,” said Mr Seemani.

Meanwhile, the Zambian hunting communities, including other southern African hunting communities have started warning that the United Nations should never hope to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030 as long as its member countries such as the British Government continue to oppose international hunting that clearly contributes towards the achievement of SDGs through wildlife and habitat conservation and poverty alleviation also through supporting socio-economic development opportunities in African countries’ hunting communities, including employment creation for game rangers.

The southern African hunting communities also say, “It’s a violation of African people’s rights to talk about animal rights without also talking about human rights and needs.

It’s double standards and hypocritical for Western governments to speak in favour of poverty alleviation in Africa but ironically blocking such opportunity by banning the means towards achieving it — wild trade, including international hunting.”

However, there is still hope to achieve SDGs in Africa if there is no external interference on how the continent should benefit from its wild resources.

“SDGs are doable if there is political will at domestic level,” said Minister Nzovu seemingly hinting that Zambia has no control over the external factors that can fail the achievement of SDGs in Africa such as the British Government’s trophy hunting imports ban Bill.

“So, I have actually observed that in Africa we are slowly getting that political will from us the politicians and letting other people drive the economy to achieve SDGs.”

Zambia’s quiet diplomacy in its efforts to convince the Western countries and animal rights groups to stop their trophy hunting imports ban dictatorship in Africa ended when it broke its silence in May 2021.

In May 2021, the then Director of the Zambia Department of National Parks and Wildlife, Dr Chuma Simukonda questioned why Western countries lawmakers continue to pursue trophy hunting imports bans, without consulting African countries.

His question put a spotlight on the unwelcome Western dictatorship of wildlife management in Africa, including the attempts to ban international hunting.

“It is unfortunate that such efforts promoted in the name of African species lack any input from Africans and are grounded on a protectionist mentality contrary to the sustainable-use model that has proven so successful in Zambia and much of southern Africa,” said Dr Simukonda.

“Zambia’s wildlife is already stable without such ill-informed legislation (to ban international hunting). Our wildlife management system is based on science, adaptation, and community empowerment.”

About 12 months later in 2022, Minister Nzovu has repeated the call not to ban trophy hunting imports from his country and the African continent as this would not only harm wildlife and habitat conservation but also negatively impact on the socio-economic wellbeing of hunting communities.

“We are all sovereign states,” said Minister Nzovu.

“So, it all depends on what you want to do with your particular resource.

So, for those particular countries (anti-international hunting countries) we would encourage them to understand that the beneficiation that we are getting are also going to the communities, wildlife and habitat conservation.”

He said the world should learn about international hunting benefits from the communities that make wildlife and habitat conservation sacrifices.

“These communities are the ones who let go of their pieces of land so that we create space for protected areas, be it national parks, forestry and game management areas,” said Minister Nzovu.

– Emmanuel is a Johannesburg-based international award-winning environmental journalist who writes independently on environment and development issues in Africa.


  1. A truly sad scene. I don’t know how a dead lion should be a delightful prop to pose by. And this, apparently benefits average Zambians – really? It’s a myth that killing a magnificent lion conserves wildlife and brings financial benefts to locals. The only beneficiaries of this despicable business are the people involved in it. These days, you will be hard pressed to see a ‘big mane’ lion, because they’ve all been killed as trophies. The bigger the mane the more dollars in the bank. Sorry, but this is not right. We are being misled.

  2. Surely how can someone call themselves a Green Economy and Environment Minister then support trophy-hunting? There is no benefit in killing your wildlife so some rich muzungu or Pakistani can hang trophys in his living room to brag to his friends. There are more sustanable forms of tourism that have done away with trophy hunting altogether

  3. What is the point when hh is selling this country behind closed doors. Let them hunt if they want. This country is finished

  4. I agree with Zennia and Tarino Orange….what the Minister is saying is bullshiiiiiit…..the opposite is the truth….how do you conserve wildlife by killing animals….all these Politicians need to resign like Boris Johnson

  5. In hunting you can shoot a lion with a gun once, but with a camera you can shoot that lion thousand of times. thats the differant between hunting tourism and eco tourism. local villages get less income per visit but long term income. Only hunting that should be allowed is where there is over population of certain animals in a area such as hippo and it is on a lottery or tag system. The other option which is practiced world wide is like big game fishing which is catch , photograph and release. In SA they medical dart big game , photograph it and then wake it up and it runs away.

  6. I cannot agree with the people who have already spoken any more than this. Ever since Kaunda left power, and all these crooks took over, our country has been on sale. We are not fools, and can see that where we had herds of wildlife roaming Luangwa and Kafue national parks, increasingly, you see open in grassland. At one time, Luangwa alone had 100, 000 elephants, now some estimates are that Zambia has a total of 31, 000 elephants, which are less in number than the 40, 000 hippos we have due to our abundant water resources, and the fact that hippo heads are not desired trophies. The international hunting business get about $14 billion a year. The likes of Zambia receive about $3 million in royalties from that. The rest goes to the international hunting facilitators who are remitting the…

  7. You have finished all the animals on earth and now you want to say international hunting is beneficial to local communities. Why should anyone hunt just for sport or trophy. What did that animal ever do to you. If you are so much interested in hunting then let lose politicians like this nzovu into the wilderness and let hunters hunt him for sport. It will not only be beneficial to the local communities bur even the whole country.

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