Shenton Safaris

End of the game for Namibia

EXTRACT FROM THE FOLLOWING THIRD PARTY SOURCE: Written by Christiaan Bakkes for The Namibian

It was a time to rejoice. It seemed to be the only logical way forward. The path had been laid out for us. The truth shone as clear as an un-muddied lake. We were bright-eyed and idealistic. Inspired and energetic. A brave new world. It was the year 1995.

I had just joined Integrated Rural Development and Nature Conservation (IRDNC), a WWF-funded NGO that was charged with the responsibility of empowering local rural communities through conservation in Namibia. The goal was to establish communal conservancies that would enable the people to take ownership of their wildlife and natural resources.


The year 1995 was also a time of good rain. The best in human memory. Springbok fawns abounded across the veld.

It was with pride that I drove my bakkie from village to village, seeking out the community game guards. I was amazed by the beauty of the landscape and the free-ranging wildlife. I was especially proud of the panda sticker on the bakkie door.

For me too it was a new beginning. I hailed from the Kruger Park where local people were kept away from wildlife with fences and guns. I was born into and benefited from an oppressive system. It was time to make amends. Give something back.

We were going to make impoverished rural communities benefit from their wildlife. At the same time we were going to conserve that wildlife. I was part of that process.

For the last twenty years I was part of that process. I still am.

I remember the exciting conception period. Befriending the community members by keeping elephants out of their meagre fields. Winning their trust by saving their crops. Training community game guards and doing game counts. The communal conservancy legislation was passed through parliament in 1996.

After three years in IRDNC I joined a safari company in the Kunene region. I witnessed game lodges springing up all over communal lands. I saw agreements between conservancies and tour companies. Joint ventures for the benefit of all. Private operators would pay communities for the privilege of tourism on their land. Local community members would be employed and trained and empowered. I saw many young men and women grow into highly professional adults. It was a wonderful period of growth. It felt good.

The conservancy policy went even further. The conservancies were granted hunting rights. The conservancies made agreements with professional hunting enterprises. The conservancy members could also hunt for the pot and own use. This was after game counts were conducted and quotas were worked out.

The good rains of 1995 turned into a wet cycle that lasted until 2011. It was a time of bounty. Plains game proliferated and black rhino numbers increased. More newborn elephant calves were noted among the small desert-adapted herds. The desert lion made a remarkable comeback. What a pleasure it was to take foreign travellers on a safari through this arid African Eden.

Soon the world took notice. Conservation awards started pouring in. Namibia was hailed as the world leader in community-based conservation.

There was enough for everybody. The money came trickling in. First slowly and then a little faster. It was never a flood. But it was enough to whet the appetite for more. Promises of wealth and riches created expectations. The expectations became too big. Then the rot set in.

The first signs of the decimation of wildlife came with the introduction of the shoot and sell policy. I first encountered it on the Giribes plains on the boundary of the Purros and Sesfontein conservancies. In this policy, outside contractors get permission to shoot plains game on a large scale to supply their butcheries elsewhere. This seemed to be a profitable venture for the conservancies.

I saw freezer trucks parked on the plains while gemsbok, springbok and zebra were being slaughtered and loaded. Bakkies were driving in different directions, returning with dead animals to be transported. On my second encounter with these shooting teams, the back registration plates of the freezer trucks were covered with duct tape.

In 2010, I encountered such a shooting party on the border of the Skeleton Coast Park. It was late November and a desert rain shower transformed the gravel plains to a green flush. There was a concentration of gemsbok, including several nursery herds. The cows had already given birth and it was no time or place to hunt gemsbok. The shooting parties of three bakkies were driving off-road and indiscriminately shooting into these herds. I reported this to the Ministry of Environment and Tourism and was assured that the practice was perfectly legal. There was no MET official present during the shoot.

Later there were newspaper reports of a large quantity of dead zebras being left out in the sun to rot, after one of these freezer trucks broke down.

The road between Sesfontein and Purros is a beautiful drive. It used to abound with gemsbok and springbok. After shoot and sell was introduced, wildlife visibly diminished. Elsewhere, signs of this practice also became visible.

Another alarming occurrence was the high mortality rate of elephants in the Purros conservancy. A recent study argues that the Hoarusib – Hoanib river elephant population has declined by 30% in the last 10 years. At least two cows and one bull were shot illegally. Another was wounded, recovered and then disappeared. Another was shot after it killed a tourist at a campsite. One died of complications with a radio collar. Orphaned calves disappeared and three elephants have emigrated upriver. The total resident elephant population at Purros at present numbers six individuals. Purros has always served as a model of people and elephant co-existing and benefiting each other through tourism. That does not seem to be the case any more.

Black rhino poaching in the communal areas started in December 2012. The last isolated incident before that was two decades ago. The number of poached rhinos varies from source to source, the most conservative number being 18 in the Palmwag and Etendeka concessions and four more in the Uukwaluudhi conservancy to the north-east. I do not speak for poached rhinos outside the communal lands. The current spate of poaching has sparked bitter debate and accusations and counter-accusations. I will not dwell on that.

The facts are that only one arrest and conviction had been made – of a poacher caught at the beginning of the onslaught. Evidence points towards organised crime and intimidation. There is a cloak of silence over events. It seems as if conservancy or community members are harbouring criminals. Critically endangered species that stand as symbols of successful community-based conservation are being slaughtered. Why now? Why after all these successes? Where have we gone wrong? Where are the flaws in our system?

When I studied nature conservation in the mid-eighties it was drummed into our heads: “If it pays it stays.”

It seems that even for conservationists, wildlife and wilderness have no place if they cannot be of financial value to people. Never was this doctrine more evident than in community-based conservation in Namibia. It is all about money. Financial benefits to the community were the focus. National pride, ethics, aesthetics and sound ecological practices shared a sad second place. If any place at all. Everything must have a price tag.

Our relentless quest for financial benefit bred one thing: GREED. It set the stage for disaster. Enter a higher bidder and all principles go out the window.

The higher bidder has entered. Unscrupulous foreign investors, with a lot of financial backing, have come with a new incentive: wildlife products. Rhino horn, ivory, pangolin, lion bones, meat, hides, organs. Everything now has a higher price. It is “good business”.

Will we stand up to this new threat? Will good people be bought and corrupted? Will our ethics and principles and our connection to the wilderness prevail?

Our clinical and non-emotional approach towards wildlife and wilderness will not be enough to stem the new wave of exploitation. We must look into our hearts again. We must remember that we are part of nature. Not owners and manipulators. This earth will not tolerate our greed forever.

We as Namibians stand to lose our reputation as splendid conservationists. A reputation means nothing until you have lost it.

The other day we travelled for several days around the Brandberg. It is a magnificent area. Pristine arid habitat. We travelled through four communal conservancies. It was an area renowned for its desert-adapted wildlife. The ancient art on its rock faces bears testimony to that. It is also known as the most bio-diverse place in Namibia. The first rains have fallen and the grass was in seed. Our total game count was: two Cape fox, three springbok and eight giraffe.

It seems we are failing.


News Desk

A collection of current affairs articles and press releases from third party sources.

  • Guest

    pessimist and one who enjoy game-counting in rainy day…

    • Sarel van der Merwe

      Involving the community remains crucially important if we want to make a success of wildlife conservation, but there are limits to freedom of consumption if the community over-utilizes. Then there must be legislation in place to prevent such negative impacts on our biodiversity. “Local community” does not mean freedom to destroy.

  • Sean

    pessimist and one who enjoys game-counting in rainy day..

  • Hugh Jampton

    Been twice with a gap of a few years traveling around the country..the change is quite noticeable.especially in the cheetah population.. it is not a country that cares for its wildlife anymore, the one thing that will sustain tourism rather than pandering in the short term big bucks shooters who will be gone quicker than the game when it disappears..
    Never going back now…. you had so much but you squandered it for so little.

    • Margrit Harris

      Can you tell me more about your cheetah population experience please?
      I’m rather confused by Cheetah breeding Centers and where these cubs end up.

      • Hugh Jampton

        I went to Namibia some years ago when it was listed that it had one of the highest Cheetah populations in the World .. at that time there were no breeding centers I was aware of .
        On my next visit a few later I was disgusted to learn that the species had been re listed as falling to near Endangered status..I also saw some farmsteads where a device I think was called a ‘coyote killer ‘ was installed widely, effectively a device that fired at anything that took some bait I think.
        I stayed on one farm that did B&B and the owner was dissmissive of requsts about wildlife. We saw nothing during our stay there .
        He was extremely arrogant and ignorant, even shocking our German Friends we were traveling with..
        Waterburg plateau is another example of change.between first visit where we were told it was a secure area for endangered animals to breed..
        To the last time when even the prolific spring hares had disappeared, more area had been cleared at its base.
        And I believe the whole status of Waterburg had then.
        A cheetah centre had been set up by that time but its aims I dont know as such Centres in S A and petting farmes are no more than breeding centres for shooting purposes and despite the place in NAM being legitimate we would rather see the animal in the wild.
        Our money now goes to those countries with an enlightened policy.

        • Margrit Harris

          Thanks so much Hugh…albeit so sad and discouraging.

        • Izak Kirsten

          The hunting of Cheetah in South Africa is completely illegal. So most of these project are trying to reintroduce these animals to the wild, but it can only done in very large reserves. The main problem with Cheetah is that it get’s out easily using warthog holes and then then travels 20 miles without any effort. It rarely stores food when other predators are available and will thus kill on a daily basis. This brings it into direct conflict farmers with life stock.

          • Hugh Jampton

            But i beg to point out the article is about Namibia? Not South Africa.,. Home of the disgusting canned hunt and ‘petting Farms’
            and a voiciferous and stong supporter of selling Ivory against all the warnings from experts and NGOs and so should bear part of the responsibility of the present massacre of Elephants in Africa..
            so yes maybe Cheetahs are protected in SA but not much else is.

    • Denine Mishoe

      Excellent point and right on the money! The whole of Africa will be nothing more than a worthless barren waste-land when the wildlife are gone because that is their ONLY legacy and value of worth they have… and it’s happening at the speed of lightening with no-one in authority over there caring or doing a damn thing to stop the pillage and raping of their country’s wildlife. So, when all is said and done they deserve what’s coming to them when they loose everything and have nothing more of value and I, for one, do not want anymore of my tax dollars going to Africa to bail them out this time.

  • pat

    I’m appalled at what is going on there. Greed is a disease that seems to be spreading and it’s destroying your country. Sad to say, I live in the US where many wealthy people travel to Africa to kill valuable wildlife for the sole purpose of show and tell with the proof adorning their walls. Yes I protested the Dallas Safari Club last year against the killing of an endangered black rhino which your country encouraged. I’m signing all the petitions to the USFWS to not allow the dead body parts back in the US. It’s wrong for the government of Namibia to allow the trophy hunting of any species, claiming it’s for conservation when we know damn well its not. The same goes for any other country as well. Namibia seems to be on a quest to destroy itself, and that it will do. Just a matter of time. Greed is not profitable, sustainable, acceptable or intelligent. God blessed all African countries in many ways but now it’s clear that most of Africa has spit in Gods face and now Africa will pay for its lack of concious and leadership. Notice I did say most, not all. We know the ones who are doing it right.

    • Sean

      what did you ever do to positively conserve wildlife? It is a joke for anyone who never conserved wildlife or even never arrived at habitat to guide conservation.

      • Ted

        Sean, you lead the way please. Let us all know how you have contributed positively to conservation. And don’t use the word “hunt” of derivatives thereof in your article/reply.

        • Sean

          if you don’t go anti-poaching or poaching, the wildlife in wild has nothing to do with you. if you don’t do anything for locals except for declaration, the wildlife in interface of wild and human activity area has nothing to do with you, either. what else left? pet, animals in zoo, circus, and beef in supermarket.

      • Ron PARNELL

        This apologists argument has been heard before … “what have you ever done bla bla..” Sometimes just not interfering is enough – surely it is not always necessary to shoot something to prove one’s conservation credentials or concern.

        • Sean

          every one should well know whether or not he or she ever gave a lot of money for nothing.

          • Hugh Jampton

            I know .. i did ., and i continue to do so .. plus i have a place in Africa .
            and of course you motive and bland comnents merely define whose side of the fence your on.

    • Stephen Palos

      Pat you seem to have missed the underlying message in Christiaan Bakkes’ article. Clearly the model worked, when based on sustainable use, which INCLUDES that very rhino you are so focussed on and hell bent on stopping. It’s a combination of poaching for high value product such as rhino horn, lion bone, pangolins etc. and the market shooting for massive quantities of meat (clearly these quotas seem unsustainable and he intimates that there is graft involved) which he bemoans.
      You, by trying to stop the trophy hunting by US hunters, would take away the solution to the problem…

      • RobinOfTheWest

        ^ MORON

      • Daniel Johnson

        Missed the message??? No amount of mumbo jumbo can make excuses for killing even one of an endangered species. Yes, there are many of us in America who would like to stop the trophy hunting by rich spoiled Americans. Up to 70% of the canned lion hunts in SA are done by Americans. America is a gun culture, animal killing nation. There is a new world looming. Just as Theodore Roosevelt and Hemingway are of the past, so is their dark side, the love of Trophy Hunting. Hunting is not conservation. With so few of Africa’s grand animals left it is a shame that Americans hunt them. It is all about greed and money, otherwise why so high a price for the thrill to kill.

        • Stephen Palos

          Daniel, Africa is far too vast for just one single use (photo safari) form of conservation use. And, in fact, if that were the only legitimate form, it would do far more harm than good as it would increase the human footprint on all the iconic places (the Okavango, the Masai-mara Migration etc) Already photo tourists are having negative impacts in some of these places. As an example, the phalanx of tourist vehicles lined up to watch the wildebeest coming up out of the Mara river each year are causing the lead animals to hold back when they crest the bank and so causing a higher number of following animals to drown.
          Hunting, in conjunction with other forms of use, spread the viability over a far greater area thus making sustainability easier to achieve. Hunters have nothing against pure photo-safari areas that are sustainable, so go ahead and support ALL the land you can under a no-hunting policy. But let the rest of the land be used by hunters and it too will still support wildlife, instead of conversion to over-grazed livestock wasteland.

          • Julie123

            On the contrary …. Africa is not big enough for those who wish to take the trophy’s of their kill and who keep coming back for more, for bigger, for better! I have loved Namibia and its policies. I have lived amongst elephants in Botswana. Namibia was the shining light of conservation. The work of Blythe and Rudi Loutit, Garth Owen-Smith, Christiaan, etc was so well known, so popular and did more for Namibia’s image as a tourist destination than current policies. I recently stayed at a lodge on the opposite banks of the Kavango from Bwabwato National Park. I will not be returning. The stress of those elephants in Bwabwato was horrific. We were kept awake all night – and night after night – with their anguished trumpeting and the sounds of shots being fired. Friends who have subsequently visited have said that it still continues night after night. We visited Bwabwata to see what was going on. The elephants are stressed. Musth glands pour. They go to drink and quickly leave. It’s pathetic to see and even worse to hear. So when you speak of the benefits of hunting ….. I wonder who is benefiting? Namibia’s policies are tragic. Thank you Christiaan Bakes for highlighting this issue.

          • Stephen Palos

            Julie, what you describe (stressed animals, trumpeting and multiple shots at night) is NOT hunting. It “may” be culling, but more likely poaching. Generally the accepted norm is that no hunting takes place from a half hour before sunset, until a half hour after sunrise. And hunts invariably end in a single shot, or perhaps with elephant a couple of shots in short succession, and then its over.

          • Julie123

            Why then has it continued for months and months (in fact, over a year)? Who is allowing this activity to continue illegally? The shots that you describe are precisely the shots that are heard. I don’t know what your affiliation is with Namibia, but you seem very supportive. I would appeal to you, if you are involved, to maybe tap someone on the shoulder before Namibia’s reputation becomes too tarnished.

          • Stephen Palos

            I am based in SA, with a local hunting NGO. I firmly believe that the best group to send detailed info of your experience to wold be the Namibian Professional Hunting Association (NAPHA) They are extremely vigilant and follow strict codes of ethics and legal compliance, and do more for anti poaching than any other NGO or even the state. If the activity you describe is illegal and/or unsustainable, they would certainly be concerned.

          • gemini

            bwabwata…witnessed a horrendous ‘hunt’ in this national park in 2012 and could not understand why there were so few elephant numbers. Then ventured down a track to find 20odd elephant skulls around a hunters camp with refrigerated containers, SSB radio aerials and other hunting kit. Only saw 1 very scared and paranoid 5 year old elephant that turned and fled in terror when we came upon him…..the hunters wounded a letchwe then tried to locate it while I watched from my vehicle….they scraemed abuse telling me to go…HUNTING IN NATIONAL PARKS WHERE TOURISTS TRAVEL TO for viewing???!! What kind of government allows this??? Never will I return to beautiful Namibia..

          • Gordon Goldhaber

            There you go again, blaming human encroachment and poor manegment on photo safaris.

            If trophy hunting had such a light footprint. why have the majority of selous’s elephant in Tanzania been poached? Why have half of Mozambique’s elephants been killed off in areas stocked with hunting concessions?

            Apparently Masai Mara has a human encroachment problem, one that gets blamed on sustainable tourism.

            As for the whole “carbon footprint” mumbo jumbo
            Read this and weep.
  ‘t harm wildlife-research.html

            I must also mention Selinda reserve in Botswana, it used to be a hunting reserve, but when the renowned Mr. Joubert came along, he transformed it. As a result, wildlife populations rebounded, thus destroying the “harmful tourism” idea.

      • Uheshe

        Stephen Palos you are right but emotions and political correctness are unfortunately driving the perceived solution. People are too politically correct to demand action on the corruption that is decimating Africa’s natural resources. Instead they delude themselves that they can change the rest of the world by which time these defenceless animals will have long have been slaughtered.

      • Denine Mishoe

        OH MY GOD!! Put a cork in that bullshit!! You’re not fooling anyone!

  • Colleen Blaine

    An incredible piece.

  • Otto

    I am puzzled by the reaction of some of those who have posted. It seems they have decided that the problem is legal hunting. Not poaching, or factory killing. Legal hunting is based on quotas that protect the game populations. Those quotas are not determined by the hunting industry, but by game managers, government and science. Poaching and factory killing, which account for 100% of game losses beyond sustainable levels, don’t seem to offend people like Pat or Hugh Jampton. They never object to poaching, and they give a pass to factory killing. It makes one wonder what their real agenda is. Clearly it is not conservation.

    • Alan Donaldson

      Christiaan thank you for a very insightful if not sad article. In my view hunting, legal or illegal, at some point leads to “mission creep” and ultimately becomes slaughter by poaching, factory killing or whatever moniker we assign to it. Once they are gone, they are gone forever so think deeply before pulling the trigger.

    • Hugh Jampton

      You dont think so? How can you tell from one initial comnent.? (Now two)..
      You talk of such ideals as game management , government and science … well what good has that done the Desert Elephant and Lion?
      Why was an olf Rhino offered up for shooting when populations arw crashing all over the continent? A conservation group offered to buy that Rhino and was refused…it semem could have been used in a breeding programme…
      would that be the same government that says nothing of factory killing?
      Didnt Namibia have a migration of wild animals but put up fences across its route? That wasnt scientific was it?
      The biggest draw in Africa for tourism is the last great Migration of AFRICA..
      Not lokking at cattle in a field instead., huge mistake.
      You carry on in the belief of sustainable hunting but beyond you where the tourism comes from there are those that kill and those who come to look..oil and water dont mix and neither do those two groups..and those that come to look are becoming less tolerant of the other.
      I prefer to support the David sheldrick trust for ophaned Elephants.
      And the Diane Fossey Foundation for the mountain Gorilla.
      than mass butchery and the depletion of what was a country that had it all and thought that the fast bucks now were betrer than a long term statergy.

      You know the myth of sustaind conservation and the regulation by man because species will overpopulated so we have to kill some..
      Well Kenya has banned hunting decades ago, and nature carried on doing what it used to, regulate itself. No species pushed out another, no species died out,
      no species bred to over population..

      so you think conservation isnt an interest of mine? You think theres a hidden agenda? You think an ordinary person half way round the world cannot be genuine because you dont see why they object…

      How do you know what I do regarding conservation in my own country?
      What have you done for conservation in yours?
      Have you protested about the wildlife butchery or is it ok because you still get your allowed quota to shoit anyway ?

      The Passenger pigeon and the North American Bison should be a reminder to everyone..

    • Belinda

      legal hunting is as big a part of the problem as all the other forms of hunting. We shouldn’t be encouraging people to think that coming to Africa to kill any animal, let alone an endangered and iconic one, is sustainable or ethical under circumstances. These “legal” hunters are often the ones with no skills at all who need the professional outfitter to finish off the job because they botch it and cause pain and suffering to the animal. and quite apart from that – if you seriously believe that money from “legal” hunting goes back into conservation you need to take off your blinkers. This is Africa. The rot has set in everywhere.

      • Louise Dickinson

        what the problem is , Chris Weaver Director of the WWF in Namibia is telling bare face lies about wildlife population numbers , Why ? because Chris Weaver runs Trophy Hunting Safaris .. Yes THE WWF HAVE TROPHY HUNTING in Namibia . When you have someone this corrupt , bringing in canned Lions to shoot , because there are none left . Lying through his back teeth about the Unique Desert Dwelling Elephants claiming there are 750 when there are 70 adults . I mean it does not get any worse then that , the little sh@t has issued 9 Hunting permits from a population of 15 Bulls , 3 have been shot and the other 6/7 hunting permits are still pending . That is the problem that man who is using Charity Donations , working in partnership with Dallas Safari Club : Conservation Force ” Though Dallas Safari Club and Conservation Force help support the Program, the primary support and technical assistance outside of MET comes from WWF’s LIFE Plus project. WWF’s LIFE Plus project has been funded by 34 million dollars in USAID and other donors from around the world. The project is in its 13th year. It began as “LIFE”, which means “Living in a finite environment.” At its second point of USAID funding it was designated “LIFE Two”. In its present, third stage of funding, the project is called “LIFE Plus”. The program stands as a model for poverty alleviation and natural resource conservation. Its success makes this hunter-friendly country even more exciting and inviting.”

        John J. Jackson is the chairman of Conservation Force, President of the Sustainable Use Commission of CIC and a wildlife attorney.

        L. Chris Weaver is employed by WWF in Namibia as head of its LIFE Plus Project.



    • Barbara

      The basis of all killing of animals, for whatever purpose, is that we still hold the archaic, colonialistic and patriarchal belief that WE as humans have ascendancy over nature. What we forget is that we ARE nature; we are just one tiny cog in this complex and magnificent web of life on earth. Everything is interdependent and everything is connected. Everywhere we are tipping the balance beyond nature’s resilience to recover, which means that we will inevitably become extinct too. We need to stop squabbling over petty issues, trying to justify one kind of killing as being better than another, and ALL realise that if we don’t stop killing the wildlife, FOR WHATEVER REASON, it will be too late for us and everything else. We have to learn to live sustainably with nature, and this means entire ecosystems, with all the flora and fauna species intact, or it is the end. Nature is indifferent and will survive without us, but is this what we want?

    • Uheshe

      Otto you are right .. people who denounce legal hunting without denouncing illegal poaching driven by local corruption are more guilty than the legal hunters.

      • Hugh Jampton

        I just did both … are you any happier for that?

        • Uheshe

          It’s a good statement that does address both issues .. just too sophisticated for the corrupt officials who sell off their countries’ natural resources for a few pieces of silver.

          • Hugh Jampton

            Agreed….pointing fingers at Colonial times is a smokescreen .
            Africa now is in the Hands of Africans and has been for some time and they are soley responsible for what is now happening all over the continent.
            Kitwe wants a road through Serengeti and soda mining at lake Natron..
            and masai thrown off their teaditional area to make way for Arabs to plunder the wildlife…..Ancestors of those who were the first plunderers of Slaves from the very same places.
            this does nothing for the local people or Tourism or the Animals..the Lion is now restricted to a fraction of its previous territory and estimates of a mere 30,000 left in the wild.
            Such gross stupidity as Kitwe wants to foist on his country for whatever (silencing those protesting with new dictatorial rules wont make accusations go away) could be not too detrimental to the overal picture but with so much slaughter and greed over all the continent it is a disaster and an outright race to extinction.

  • Map

    Hey Chris,
    Same problem throughout. This worked when the human populations are equal to the potential income. We do not know the level, but at some point the income from wildlife, either through consumptive or non-consumptive use, is just not enough to satisfy the needs of the many who now all demand an even higher quality lifestyle. Enter a modern form of ‘the tragedy of the commons’, where taking a little more for yourself leads to the scenarios you have described. To better understand what may have happened, somebody should have a close look at the rate of population growth between the time when it all worked so well and now. Methinks you will find that the balance has tipped.

    • Hugh Jampton

      Kenya, Botswana , Uganda, Costa Rica have all banned tourist hunting and in some cases all hunting.
      Kenya has survived since the mid seventies when Richard Leakey instilled a shoot to kill policy on poaching and Kenya burned its ivory stocks..
      It was only the insistance of Southern States (Namibia being one ) who pushed hard for a “one off” sale of Ivory at a time when poaching was at an all time low and under control..
      well we can all see the stupidity and ill conceived idea results of that every day all over AFRICA.

      Also on the subject of oversears hunters or ‘sport’ hunters 60%; of whom are American.. the fallacy that such avtivity brings money suppirt and benifits to the ( local villages as americans call it) is even admitted by the NRA that less than 3% filters back inton the local economy.

  • Margrit Harris

    This is desperately sad! Explains however why the zebra and gemsbok we saw in the Namib Desert were so fearful of our Land Rover.
    When will the exploitation and killing end? When there is no wild animal or bird left?

    • Louise Joubert

      Margrit sadly this exploitation and the mass destruction (inclusive of poaching) of wildlife is sweeping across the African like a wild fire. In each and every country this is happening. It seems like Africa has lost its common sense and all forms of decency as the country side is being raped. The only areas where wildlife can survive this holocaust is in remote areas not easily accessible by man. As an African I am sad to say that it appears as if wildlife no longer carries a special meaning to the majority of this continent’s people. If it does not bring with it money or can act as a food source; it may as well no longer exist. Tourism is no longer the answer it seems as many in governments do not long for a sustainable long term solution; they much rather strip whatever they can on the short term. Dreadfully sad.

      • Margrit Harris

        Thanks Louise… Wish it were not so

      • Denine Mishoe

        I couldn’t agree with you more… but the day will come, faster than those in authority think, and they will have nothing and because they allowed the holocaust of Africa’s irreplaceable animals, I will have no sympathy for anyone there when they have nothing and then need our help. I will openly say, Rot in Hell to All of Them! I’m sorry I see that you’re from Africa, but I speak the truth, it’s just how angry the rest of the world is becoming by this murdering of Africa’s wildlife.

  • esme

    Sadly the rot has infested Zimbabwe….only when it is gone…..poverty, corruption and bad governance, the animals pay the price. We had the campfire projects, sadly all these have collapsed.

  • Margie Ivins

    This is the reason I do not support WWF anymore because they are pro hunting. There are no clean hunters anymore only corrupt people who are out to kill all for money- pure greed.

  • Kay J Callahan

    To fight greed and corruption, people with foresight and thought are needed to help people understand the cost of these man made diseases. Once greed and corruption take everything – there will never be anything to salvage and no one will care about Africa anymore. Africa’s naturalness is its legacy – what it has to offer the world. It is, it’s commodity. As long as the citizens do not understand that – the only things that stand a chance are greed and corruption. A sad day for the human race.

  • theraini1

    The US has been bought and sold by a mega pac called ALEC. ALEC is all of the US mega money, and they have become psychopaths. It’s bad enough, that the ex pat movement is huge. People are abandoning the US in droves.. This sad article is part of the reason why.

  • Hennie Bezuidenhout

    The end indeed..

  • Sad and pathetic. How can we orchestrate enough pressure and on who, in the Govt to potentially try to get a reversal of this shortsighteness and greed?

  • Louise Dickinson

    Posted everywhere : If you read all the comments USFWS to ban Imports from Namibia , and blocked Corey Knowlton from killing for TV fun and entertainment and one other , who kills Black Rhino pregnant cows with no consequences what so ever because you have giving him another Import Licence to kill another one . you would have seen that there is NO wildlife left in Namibia because the USA: NRA , DSC and SCI have massacred them all …And the Namibia MET and the Director of WWF , Chris Weaver with his Trophy Hunting Safaris , built on global charity donations given by people to protect wildlife not massacre them into close/ to extinction and then do charity campaigns to save them , what a scam hey .. Yep that is Chris Weaver your Trophy Hunting mate the Director of the WWF in Africa SA and Namibia , and ICUN Mike Knight who can’t add up Black Rhino populations who has cut a deal with CITES and USFWS to kill 10 males a year .. Yes 10 males from an almost extinct species , this is not one bit corrupt is it as the Namibia MET get close to half a million Dollars each for one animal ? USFWS and Namibia MET we know what you are doing and we want your head on a plate Daniel M Ashe , you are violating your position and you are greedy and corrupt too and now PETA is going to prosecute you: ” PETA has just sent an urgent letter notifying the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) that it will file a lawsuit over the FWS’ announcement today that it plans to allow big-game hunters Michael S. Luzich and Corey D. Knowlton to import from Namibia the endangered black rhinos they have killed and planned to kill, respectively, after winning two recent Dallas Safari Club auctions. PETA is warning the FWS not to destroy any e-mails, texts, or other communications that will show how the decision came about.
    As PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—points out in the letter, more than 135,000 people and multiple animal-protection organizations spoke out against the permits, which defy the Endangered Species Act’s (ESA) express prohibition on the import or export of endangered animals. The FWS is allowing Luzich and Knowlton to bypass this prohibition and flout the ESA in a “pay-to-play” arrangement in which the hunters will pay a sum to the Namibian government.
    “PETA will be filing a lawsuit over this outrageous decision to allow two sports hunters to bring back the bodies of animals shot in cold blood to decorate their trophy walls,” says PETA Foundation Deputy General Counsel Delcianna Winders. “These permits are fundamentally inconsistent with the purpose of the Endangered Species Act, which is to conserve endangered species, not to authorize their slaughter.”
    For more information, please visit
    PETA’s letter to the FWS follows.
    March 26, 2015
    Tim Van Norman
    Chief, Branch of Permit
    Division of Management Authority
    U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
    Dear Mr. Van Norman:
    I am writing on behalf of PETA and its more than 3 million members and supporters to request that the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service release all records related to its decision to issue permits to Michael S. Luzich (PRT-33743B) and Corey D. Knowlton (PRT-33291B) to import the corpses of sport-hunted endangered black rhinoceroses. PETA plans to file a lawsuit over the decision to issue these permits and so further requests that the agency retain all records, including e-mails, text messages, and other communications, regarding who influenced this outrageous decision that runs counter to public opinion as well as to all reasonable animal-protection interests.
    This information must be made available given the unprecedented opposition—including 15,000 comments and 135,000 petition signatures—from the public and animal-protection organizations to the issuance of these permits and given that the issuance of such permits is fundamentally inconsistent with the purpose of the Endangered Species Act, which is to conserve endangered species, not to authorize their slaughter.
    News Source : Feds Under Fire for Granting Big-Game Hunters Permit to Import Endangered Black Rhinos’ Bodies, Despite Animal-Protection Groups’ and More Than 135,000 Citizens’ Objections ” .. ..and soon to be unemployed and humiliated with the Namibia MET who deserve to be thrown out of the Commonwealth ….But you already know that don’t you Daniel M Ashe what is happening in Namibia and SA you are directly responsible for the wildlife crisis in Africa and you are personally profiting from the wildlife crisis . That is why you trade with USAID , WWF , NAMIBIA MET , ICUN , DSC , SCI , NRA . because you are also greedy and corrupt too … What should happen all these Trophy rooms in the USA , is the owners should be locked in the room and the place should be burnt down that is the best solution to completely destroy this wildlife massacring industry which is raping Africa and destroying her forever.

  • RobinOfTheWest

    Chris Weaver (WWF) and Dan Ashe (USFWS) should be beheaded.

    • Louise Dickinson

      i have a better idea, i involves removing something that wont kill them , but , they will miss it .

  • Louise Dickinson

    Why this is important

    Please sign this very important petition. We need to raise awareness to STOP the corruption in the World Wildlife Fund in Africa and make people aware that when they donate money to the WWF they are supporting corruption and wildlife extinction . The WWF are blatantly exaggerating critically endangered wildlife population numbers for their data and they are miss-informing the USFWS and the EU . The WWF are misusing global WWF Charity Donations, whilst, creating opportunities for the Trophy Hunting Industries in Africa to flourish as the animals and herds near extinction in the wild. The World Wildlife Fund in Africa, is in bed with the USA Pro-Hunting Lobby Groups: DSC, SCI and NRA. They have vested interests because they are controlling funding streams and imposing their Hunting Agendas first. Which, means they are directly influencing and manipulating ALL the African Countries to maintain a Trophy Hunting Stance, of critically endangered and almost extinct wildlife in Africa .

    UPDATE 11th February 2015 : Please read the truth of what TROPHY HUNTING WWF, that is using charity donations …. To promote wildlife extinction CHRIS WEAVER WWF SA / NAMIBIA …. ” Though Dallas Safari Club and Conservation Force help support the Program, the primary support and technical assistance outside of MET comes from WWF’s LIFE Plus project. WWF’s LIFE Plus project has been funded by 34 million dollars in USAID and other donors from around the world. The project is in its 13th year. It began as “LIFE”, which means “Living in a finite environment.” At its second point of USAID funding it was designated “LIFE Two”. In its present, third stage of funding, the project is called “LIFE Plus”. The program stands as a model for poverty alleviation and natural resource conservation. Its success makes this hunter-friendly country even more exciting and inviting.” Read More :

    This wildlife holocaust is causing human incurable diseases. ‘Ebola’ is spreading across Africa and soon the rest of the world.Evidence : Uncontrollabled Hunting Leads to New Deadly Diseases including Ebola :…… The African Ecosystem is breaking down as Trophy Hunters have massacred and over-hunted wild animals for over 50 years. The USA Trophy Hunting businesses and the members of the USA Pro-Hunting Lobby Groups alongside the Poachers are now standing side-by-side massacring the Wild Animals into extinction.

    The destruction of the natural world in Africa is supported by WWF Charity Donations, which is directly threatening the African Tribal People’s health and their future because they are dependant upon the Natural World to survive.

    Outsiders, who do not care about the damage they are causing in Africa are destroying the environment forever. Some of the wealthiest and most powerful people in the world and the USA are massacring the last of the wild animals in Africa, media invisible and unchallenged. In poor countries where there are no ‘Human Rights’ or ‘Freedom of Speech’.

    The African people affected have no voice and they need our support.The information used in this petition is published on the Internet and the links can be found underneath the quotes.

    The Elders of the wild animal populations are being destroyed at an alarming rate for trophies and now the young animals are dependent upon humans instead of their family groups. The endangered wild animals in Africa have no international protection and are routinely killed by Trophy Hunters with Machine Guns, Automatic Weapons and Rocket Launchers from the ground and Helicopters.

    The African Wildlife is trapped in fenced areas for this purpose. Whole herds are destroyed at anyone time. Or tame hand-reared wild animals are kept in captivity on Petting and Canned Hunting Farms, trusting humans because they are taken away from their mothers at birth. They are kept in cages or enclosures surrounded by electric fences and they are used as target practice and killed at close range with crossbows or guns.

    Killing endangered wild animals in Africa is called USA Family Holiday fun, or Hunting Channels cheap TV entertainment. This is a Multi- Billion Dollar Industry.

    There are no laws in Africa or in the USA to stop the massacring of the African wildlife into extinction. The Natural World cannot cope with this war declared.
    The wild animals are going extinct.

    Africa’s Trophy Hunting Shame (part one)
    Uploaded on Jan 25, 2012
    “A Giraffe been chased by a helicopter and shot and a family laugh over the Zebra they have just killed, this is just some of the shocking things exposed in this video. GRAPHIC IMAGES”

    We need to send a clear message to the WWF to tell them that the Global Community: NOT funding the WWF to sustain the Trophy Hunting Industry and / or deliberate African Animal extinction in the wild for exclusive Canned Hunting in Africa and the USA.

    If the WWF continues to support the wildlife holocaust in Africa they will risk their Global reputation and loose Public Donations. By supporting Trophy Hunting the WWF is contributing to a human incurable disease and destroying the food chain, causing wildlife exploitation/ extinction and causing the outright collapse of the ecosystem in Africa.

    WE DEMAND URGENT ACTION and a PUBLIC INQUIRY into the Practices of the World Wildlife Fund in Africa.

    WE DEMAND AN URGENT WILDLIFE SURVEY TO DETERMINE THE TRUE WILDLIFE POPULATIONS BECAUSE FROM MY RESEARCH BELOW in the letter : Yolanda Kakabadse is WWF’s International President and the former Ecuadorian Minister of Environment. NOTHING THE WWF IN AFRICA HAS PUBLISHING IS CORRECT and Trophy Hunting should cease in Africa, until the wild animal data is collated properly, before the Wildlife is destroyed any further.


    WE OBJECT TOTALLY TO WORLD WILDLIFE FUND supporting and working with The USA Pro –Hunting Lobby Groups who HAVE VESTED INTERESTS TO REMOVE WILDLIFE FROM THEIR HABITATS TO CREATE EXCLUSIVE CANNED HUNTING, WHO ARE imposing Hunting Agendas and controlling and manipulating Funding Streams into African Countries’, thus, financially rewarding countries for creating wildlife extinction.
    Please sign this petition and share the information widely.
    Thank you

  • Douglas Pinchen

    Meneer Bakkes, if I may call you that – this report is a very bold but true statement that reflects the face of a tremendous difficulty not just Namibia but your continent faces – that is not only preserving but nuturing a thriving animal inheritance that is unique to Africa. That material wealth does not bring contentment is witnessed here in the affluence of Europe where we have next to no wild animals in comparison to you but everything available money can buy and yet Europeans by enlarge do not have the quality of life many think. Having lived in Africa and having seen the enforced simple lifestyles many have to endure, I can understand the desire to have more – but at the cost of destroying an environment which many envy, this is indeed short-sighted. There are few encouraging or upbuilding academic works on the matter, but there is an Occasional Paper at the institute of Commonwealth Studies, University of London, entitled ‘How Green was our Empire?’ (edited bt Terry Barringer, 2005) and puts your article into perspective with the rest of former Colonial Africa. My point is, you are not alone – many empathize with your thoughts and the academic world is encouraging a realistic understanding of the nature of the terrible situation. My personal opinion is whilst animals are in subjection to mankind, we have a paternal responsibilty to them but we can also learn from them and enjoy them as marvellous creations here to enhance and bring meaning to our lives.


    Summed up in one word – GREED. As soon as someone sees the angle – take take take! Story the world over.

  • Storm61

    What a very sad story. I don’t know how one combats greed but I hope a way is found before it’s too late.

  • Guest

    Thanks so much for speaking out. No longer can we view nature and our wildlife as a mere commodity. We have to change our perceptions and approach. With some much pressure being brought on wild spaces and animals we no longer have the luxury of applying the concept of “if it pays; it stays”. For too long these words have been translated into the go-ahead for blatant exploitation at the hands of man. There is and has never been a will to use nature in a sustainable manner by the majority. Ethics and morals are not playing a role in decision making anymore. It is now time we rethink this approach and governments and the people of the countries involved in this exploitation need to understand the time has come for us to pay for it to stay; especially in the case of rhinos.

  • Louise Joubert

    Thanks so much for speaking out. No longer can we view nature and our wildlife as a mere commodity. We have to change our perceptions and approach. With so much pressure being brought on wild spaces and animals we no longer have the luxury of applying the concept of “if it pays; it stays”. For too long these words have been translated into the go-ahead for blatant exploitation at the hands of man. There is and has never been a will to use nature in a sustainable manner by the majority. Ethics and morals are not playing a role in decision making anymore. It is time we urgently rethink this approach and governments and the people of the countries involved in this exploitation need to understand the time has come for us to pay for it to stay; especially in the case of rhinos. Is Africa really up to this challenge? I guess only time will tell.

  • Disgusted

    How very sad and how very inevitable , as mankinds greed and hypocrisy grow! In fifty years when there is nothing left, who will the powers that be blame then? Will sci-fi adventure movies like Hunger Games be reality, as it is a sad but inevitable truth that humans will destroy quicker than they save, especially with the policy of if it pays it stays. God is watching us and we will be held accountable!

  • Kruger

    I think everyone should read this letter to understand the elephant situation.

    Mr Barack Obama
    President of the United States of America.
    The White House
    1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
    Washington, DC 20500

    Dear Mr President,


    I am a 75-year-old ex-game warden from Rhodesia & Zimbabwe. I served in the Rhodesian and then Zimbabwean, Department of National Parks and Wildlife Management for 24 years (1959 to 1983).

    Not only was I an active field officer in the department, I was also a member of the British Institute of Biology (London) & Chartered Biologist for European Union (for c.20 years).

    I have had a very distinguished career — and that I have extensive big game hunting, management and capture experience
    in Africa.

    I wish to bring to your attention the fact that the US Fish & Wildlife Service has very recently introduced a ban on the importation (to the United States) of elephant hunting trophies from Tanzania and Zimbabwe.

    I draw your attention to the non-existent “evidence” they present in support of this ban:-

    (a) Anecdotal evidence (whatever that means), such as the widely publicised poisoning last year of 300 elephants in Hwange National Park, suggests that Zimbabwe’s elephants are under siege.

    (b) Additional killing of elephants in these countries, even if legal, is not sustainable and is not currently supporting conservation efforts that contribute towards recovery of the species.

    Recovery? Recovery from What?

    How, Sir, does the USF&WS judge the “sustainability” of elephant “killings” in Zimbabwe and Tanzania when they openly acknowledge the paucity of their information and understanding about these countries’ elephant management programmes?

    Sir, I have 55 years of experience in the field of elephant management.

    I served, for three years, as a game ranger in Hwange in my youth; and, in later years, I was the provincial game warden-in-charge of Hwange National Park.
    And throughout my 24 years’ service in Zimbabwe’s National Parks Department, not one of Zimbabwe’s many elephant populations declined.

    In my personal experience of Hwange (1960 to 1983), the elephant population exploded from 3 500 animals (in 1960) to 23 000(+) (in 1983) — despite, latterly, 18 years of sustained annual elephant culling.

    Hwange’s elephant population now stands at somewhere between 30 000 and 50 000. And the carrying capacity of Hwange National Park in 1960 was determined to be just 2 500!

    Most of Zimbabwe’s elephant populations doubled their numbers every 10 years between 1960 and 2000.

    Today, the factor that is putting the brakes on the current “rate” of the elephant population expansion is not poaching, or hunting, but lack of food during the six-month long dry season every year.

    The elephant populations in Zimbabwe are ALL “excessive” — which means they now grossly exceed the sustainable carrying capacities of their habitats. The country’s game reserves, therefore, are rapidly being turned into deserts by too many elephants. The adverse effect on Zimbabwe’s biological diversity, as a result of these hugely excessive elephant numbers, is catastrophic.

    I am appalled, Sir, at the lack of information and understanding that your USF&WS has about elephant management, particularly, in Zimbabwe.

    It hasn’t a clue what is going on, on the ground. And I strongly suspect exactly the same situation pertains with regard to its understanding about the
    details of elephant management in Tanzania.

    I am astounded, therefore, that the USF&WS have imposed this importation ban on elephant trophies from Tanzania and Zimbabwe — based on no shred of proper evidence at all.

    If they understood the situation in Zimbabwe they would know that “the elephant problem” in that country is that it has TOO MANY ELEPHANTS.

    The draconian impositions of these trophy importation bans will put a virtual stop to elephant hunting in Tanzania and Zimbabwe —where American hunters are “key”.

    This will adversely affect the wildlife programmes of both countries; it WILL NOT “help the elephants”; it WILL open the gates of the wildlife sanctuaries to the commercial poachers (because the presence of professional hunters on the ground is the greatest obstacle to poaching of all kinds in these reserves); and it will cause the unnecessary unemployment and impoverishment of a great many of Africa’s people. Nothing good, therefore, can come out this horrific and unsupportable imposition.

    In support of my views, Sir, I append Attachment 2. This is an extensive report that fully explains the real situation in Zimbabwe – on the ground.

    I would request, Sir, that in the interests of fostering good American/African relations — and in the interests of Africa, its wildlife and its people — that you unilaterally rescind these draconian and ill-considered restrictions.

    Thanking you for your considerations,

    Ron Thomson

  • Elephant DaZe

    How much can the wildlife possibly suffer at the hands of humans?
    “After shoot and sell was introduced, wildlife visibly diminished. Elsewhere, signs of this practice also became visible.Another alarming occurrence was the high mortality rate of elephants in the Purros conservancy. A recent study argues that the Hoarusib – Hoanib river elephant population has declined by 30% in the last 10 years. At least two cows and one bull were shot illegally. Another was wounded, recovered and then disappeared. Another was shot after it killed a tourist at a campsite. One died of complications with a radio collar. Orphaned calves disappeared and three elephants have emigrated upriver. The total resident elephant population at Purros at present numbers six individuals. Purros has always served as a model of people and elephant co-existing and benefiting each other through tourism. That does not seem to be the case any more”.

  • Karina1

    This is horrendous, the corruption, greed and the disgusting need to kill are factors that are destroying wildlife all over Africa. Shame on WWF, and Namibian politicians and especially so called cowardly hunters, killing will never be conservation.

  • Fern L. Kicha

    Unbridled greed and corruption. Wildlife is decimated and will become extinct. Future generations will look back on us with disbelief and anger at our callousness and indifference. The only possible solution since the government is unwilling to stop this, is to move as many wildlife as possible off the African continent. Australia might be a possibility if it can control poaching and trophy hunting. Big game trophy hunting is being driven, in large part, by the 50,000 members of the Safari Club International (SCI). Their goal is to kill as many big game as possible (including the “Big Five”) to have their kills recorded in the SCI record book and be recognized at SCi conventions.Trophy hunting is a competition between wealthy, machismo-type individuals. Poaching of elephant tusks, pangolin, rhino horn, lion and tiger animal parts, etc., is financed by the Chinese and Vietnamese. Examples are rhino horn for traditional Chinese medicine, ivory for trinkets and jewelry, pangolin for meat and scales, etc.

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