A couple of dark clouds have appeared in Tanzania. First, the government has announced that year-round hunting will be stopped effective this coming December 31. This will mean hunting blocks will not be occupied each year for the months of January through March. The second development is an announcement by the government that all hunting blocks in the country will be reallocated in the year 2000, perhaps by means of an open tender. The Tanzanian Hunting Operators Association (TAHOA) has voiced opposition to both moves, and friends of Tanzania should back them in this opposition. The use of a tender system to reallocate areas could be especially disruptive because it would put experienced operators with a long-term commitment to wildlife at a disadvantage against deep-pocketed speculators. Wildlife and the safari industry as we know it would almost certainly suffer. Here at The Hunting Report we plan to keep a close eye on both developments and urge interested hunters to do the same.
The other development worth watching in this country is the government's long-term reaction to the recent brouhaha over unshipped trophies. The trophies in question, of course, belong to clients of PH/safari outfitter David van der Meulen, who closed his company in Tanzania at the end of 1997 without paying all the fees needed to get the government to release the trophies belonging to more than 50 clients. In most cases, the clients themselves had paid the necessary fees. At this writing, due to pressure from Safari Club International, the Tanzanian government has released the trophies and simply accepted the financial losses. However, if a proposal made at the recent SCI Convention holds up, the government is going to be much more careful about incurring such losses in the future. Specifically, it may begin requiring companies to pay all trophy fees within three weeks of the completion of a safari. Companies that don't pay within that period (or can't pay because of a dispute with an outgoing client) may not be able to buy licenses for incoming clients. And where will that leave arriving clients? It's unclear exactly how this is going to play out,........(continued)