Here at The Hunting Report, we are looking into this matter and will have more to say about it in a future issue. In the meantime, it should be noted that only a handful of areas have been split so far. Moreover, the government has given current leaseholders the right to hunt the newly created part of their concessions this year if they agree to pay additional fees. I am not aware that any booked hunts are in jeopardy.
The long-term worry, loudly expressed by some operators, is the impact this move could have on trophy quality. After all, if an area that previously had a safari-hunting quota of six lions is split and the quota goes to 12, how can trophy quality be expected to stay high?
The answer I got from the government was this: 1.) The area splits coincide with the transfer of some resident quota to safari-hunting quota, so there is no significant overall increase in quota. 2.) Some of the areas in Zambia are so vast they have not been huntable by a single company. Putting two companies in one vast area will result in more of it being hunted - and that will mean the combined pressure is being distributed over a larger area.
Exactly how all this will shake out is not clear yet, but in my view the area splits may not be as bad as some operators are claiming. Yes, the splits will reduce the number of acres some operators have available to them. And the worries about overshooting are worth taking........(continued)