Down in Namibia, there has been a delay in the auction of hunting rights on most of that country's important public hunting areas. The delay, until June, means there will be little or no hunting this coming season on 18 hunting concessions, some of them newly created this year. Included are virtually all of the areas where elephant hunting is conducted in Namibia.
The apparent bad news may be good news in disguise, however, as the government delayed the auction because of the enormous interest shown in it by bidders. The Nami- bian newspaper in Windhoek referred to the would-be bidders as a "human stampede" in a December 6 article. The article, slanted against hunting, noted there is resistance in the country to some of the newly created hunting areas, particularly those in National Parks. Some of the would-be bidders, the article says, are non-hunting companies that want to control the areas for game-viewing purposes, not hunting.
Hunting professionals we spoke with in Namibia about the delay expressed some concern that it might allow non-hunting and anti-hunting forces a chance to roll back the planned expansion in hunting opportunity. There was also considerable disappointment at the prospect of losing an entire year of public land hunting. Nonetheless, there is grudging acceptance of the delay in most quarters as being in the best long-term interest of hunting.
Indeed, the big story in Namibia is not the one-year delay in allocating areas; it is the rapid, but orderly, pace at which hunting has been expanded there. In all, when the new areas are finally allocated, Namibia will have a total elephant quota of 60, for example. This expansion of public-land hunting for elephant and other big game, it should be noted, is taking place at the same time that private land hunting is growing. Namibia, indeed, is shaping........(continued)