Next door in Zambia, even fewer end-of-season figures were available, but again the mood was upbeat. "The majority of our chaps seems to have had a good season," is the way Keith Asherwood put it near press time. Asherwood is the Chairman of SHOAZ (Safari Hunting Operators Association of Zambia). He says particularly good lion, Cookson wildebeest and kudu were taken.
The issue that everyone is talking about in Zambia is the splitting of some of the larger concession areas. Indeed, some concession areas in Zambia are so large they cannot be hunted by a single operator from a single camp. From a geographical point of view, then, a least some of the splits make sense. Also, the safari industry needs to bring in more money if it is to continue to have the government's support.
Where the concern comes in is with expanded animal quotas. There seems to be general agreement that some of the areas about to be split do not have sufficient game populations to support the kind of quotas being proposed. Critics point out that some of the large areas got that large because of previous consolidations due to lack of game. Re-splitting the areas without restoring the game is simply not going to work.
As this issue goes to press, the tender documents for the newly split areas have just been released. The inside talk is, most of the newly available areas will be taken up by the current owners, who will simply have to pay more for controlling the same amount of area they had before the splits. This may put upward pressure of prices, but it will mitigate the effects of the area splits.
The other issue that is being hotly debated is a newly announced plan to put the so-called Specialized Areas - e.g, Bangweulu........(continued)