The Zimbabwe National Wildlife Authority, in March, auctioned off sport hunting packages for big game to local and foreign hunters. The packages include rights to kill elephants, lions, hippos and leopards. Other sub-Saharan African nations make several millions of dollars each year from tourists wanting to see live animals in their natural habitats. Zimbabwe, however, will pocket considerably less, if this auction mirrors the last one in 2009, which netted $1.5 million for the government.
The hunting packages are touted as a way to cull excess animals—a short-sighted approach (and not entirely believable rationale) given reports that even as these hunts are officially sanctioned, uncontrolled illegal hunting for bush meat and trophies is on the rise on lands owned by government officials of President Mugabe’s ZANUPF party.