chapter  14
12 Pages

Wildlife tourism

Wildlife use vs local gain: trophy hunting in Namibia
WithM. Novelli and M.N. Humavindu

Namibia is situated in the South Western coast of Africa, occupying approximately 825,000 square kilometres. The country is mainly characterised by a semi-arid to arid environment, which does not prevent the country from having an astonishing variety of flora and fauna, contrasting landscapes and an untouched wilderness. It is sparsely inhabited with a population of 1.8 million growing at around 3% per annum. The country is characterised by a strong need for development and has high unequal distribution of assets and income partly due to the legacy of South African apartheid (Ashley and Barnes, 1996). The Namibian economy is primarily natural resource-based. Mining, agriculture and fishing contribute around 40% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Tourism is the fastest growing sector and

Table 14.1 ‘Trophy’ hunting: aims and prizes

Defining a trophy Any part of an animal that can be displayed as a sign of the catch

Antelope: horns and skin Elephant: tusks

Quality parameters According to species: Size (length/diameter) Weight

The hunters’ aim Trophies from: mature, big, older animals no longer reproductive (ethical hunting)

contributes 2.3% of GDP (Standard Bank of Namibia, 2003), which may be the result of the 1991 government strategy that declared tourism a priority sector. A key role has been played by international aid donors in supporting tourism

related projects. Since 1992, the European Commission has supported a Tourism Development Programme including drafting of the 1993 Tourism Development Plan, followed by the 1994 White Paper on Tourism (Jenkins, in Dieke, 2000), and a range of other initiatives, such as the 1998 Namibia Tourism Development Programme, currently being implemented. Since 1995, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) have been involved in significant community-based conservation projects, shaping a development strategy linked with the priorities of the Ministry of Environment and Tourism (i.e. the LIFE project described in USAID, 2004). Namibia has 21 parks and reserves, which cover 14% of its land, with a total of

12 government-owned resorts established in these parks (Ministry of Environment and Tourism, 2000). The main attractiveness of Namibia lies in its natural environment, but its diverse cultures and indigenous communities, such as the Himba community, offer additional value to the experience of tourists visiting the country. From a land management point of view, there are three primary forms of land

tenure in Namibia: privately owned commercial farms (comprising 43% of total land area), state owned communal land (40% of total land area) while proclaimed state land for conservation makes up 17% of total land area. Although communal areas belong to the state, recent legislation and policy allows the transfer of property rights, for management and use of wildlife and other natural resources, to communities. These initiatives are seen as empowerment processes to provide incentives for conservation in communal areas (Barnes, 2003). In terms of numbers, protected and communal areas each hold about 14% of the wildlife, while commercial farms on private land contain the majority (about 72%). The semi-arid to arid rangelands on private land have produced a multi-million pound industry based on both consumptive and non-consumptive use of wildlife.