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HUNTING party.

National Parks introduces raffle selection for resident hunting licences

YANDE SYAMPEYO, Chilanga
HUNTING in Zambia has increasingly become a lucrative business as every year, the Department of Wildlife records an increase in the number of people applying for licenses.
However, the demand for licences, especially resident hunting licenses far outstrips the number of animals available for hunting every year and this has led to the bidding process for the licenses to be very competitive.
For example, over 2,000 applicants this year bid for resident hunting licences for about 1,000 animals available for hunting.
The high demand for resident hunting licences has subsequently raised concerns on issues of transparency regarding the selection process for a few successful citizens and established hunters in the various hunting blocks and specialised hunting areas of Zambia.
Realising this challenge, government through the Department of National Parks and Wildlife has resolved to introduce raffle selection criteria for awarding licences for resident hunting.
Resident hunting in Zambia is conducted annually since the inception of the Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) in the year 2000, through advertising in the public media and selection of successful applicants.
The ZAWA has since been integrated into the Department of National Parks and Wildlife.
The Department of National Parks through the Wildlife Management Licensing Committee recently held a raffle draw at Munda Wanga Botanical Gardens to determine which applications would get the hunting licences for this year’s hunting season.
“The whole process has really been transparent, it is a good process. If you are not picked this year, tough luck and try next year” Charles Ngandu, a successful applicant says.
Ngandu, a retired colonel and resident of Lusaka’s Lilayi area, was one of the lucky winners of the raffle draw.
Colonel Ngandu, who has been in the hunting business for over 10 years, was the first to be drawn in the Lower Lupande Game Management Area (GMA) in Mfuwe, which has a good stock of wildlife.
The number of packages in a given hunting area is determined by the availability of stocks. The higher number of animals in an area attracts a number of licenses and or packages issued by the Department of National Parks and Wildlife.
“This is the first time in over 10 years that I have been subjected to such a process and my impression is that this is a very transparent process. It provides an opportunity to successful applicants to be accorded a chance to acquire the hunting licences.
“For my colleagues who might not have been lucky in this draw, I appeal to them to try their luck next year, “he says.
Atalya Tembo, a new and not so lucky entrant in the hunting business is not pleased with the raffle selection criteria although she is quick to point out that the ‘feeling’ is obvious for an unsuccessful bidder.
Ms Tembo, who applied for a licence in one of GMA’s in Luangwa, was not lucky in this year’s hunting season as the wheels of fortune did not turn her way.
A mother of six, who resides in Lusaka’s Garden area, chose to bid for the hunting licenses following advice by her friend to the effect that it is a lucrative business.
Ms Tembo, a single mother is devastated that she was not picked in the raffle draw as she was hoping to sponsor her son to university.
“My child performed very well in his grade 12 exams. He got a division one, hence I was hoping if I was awarded the hunting license, it would enable me to sponsor his education,” Ms Tembo said.
Ms Tembo, who has been a house keeper (maid) for years hopes to perform better in next year’s bidding process.
“I have been a maid for years but my salary is inadequate to cater for the needs of my kids. That is why I resolved to try this hunting business,” Ms Tembo says.
The decision to subject applicants to a raffle for the licences is aimed at enhancing transparency especially that the demand far outstrips the available animals per annual hunting quota.
Chairperson of the Wildlife Licensing Committee Constantine Hara says the National Parks and Wildlife Department this year received 2,301 applications of which 1,900 were shortlisted and 401 were disqualified. This is against 1,095 animals available for hunting this year.
This year’s hunting season runs from October 10 to December, 31.
“We are aware of the fact that the demand for hunting licences far outstrips the animal hunting quota, and in a bid to improve the perception of the mode of allocation of licences, NPWD through the wildlife licensing committee approved the raffle selection criteria to be employed during the selection exercise of citizens and resident hunters for various hunting blocks in Game Management Areas (GMA) and specialised hunting areas for the 2016 hunting season,” he says.
Major Hara says licensing is an important tool in the sustainable management of wildlife resource as enshrined in the Zambia Wildlife Act.
“We are all aware of the transformation of the Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) into department of national parks and wildlife might have come with its own challenges but the fact that we are all here means there is good progress in settling down in the department,” he said.
Department of National Parks and Wildlife director Paul Zyambo laments that the integration of ZAWA into the NPWD partly delayed the issuance of this year’s resident hunting licenses.
“But we still have a few months to go to conduct the hunting. My appeal to the unsuccessful applicants is not to give up. If you do not get this year, try next year.
“This raffle is like the ‘Pick Alot’ lottery draws. Some people buy those ticks for years without winning but they never give up,” he says.
Mr Zyambo says the raffle draw for hunting licenses is cardinal in drawing the public’s confidence in the operations of the department.
He appealed for sustainable methods of hunting to preserve the national resource.
“Let us see how we can manage our national resource. We should not just take, rather let us do something to help the resource grow,” Mr Zyambo says.