This is nothing new to Zambia's Safari Operators, as ZAWA attempted a similar quota cut two years ago and was immediately hit by court actions that forced them to stick to original quotas in the lease agreements signed in 2003. These court actions are still in effect for some of the safari operators and their concessions, which makes ZAWA's current action somewhat illegal.
Those Safari Operators with previous court actions in effect will insist they be upheld, while others most likely will take the matter all the way to the Supreme Court to get a favorable judgment based upon the precedent already set. The question is how much time will it take to clarify the situation and will this struggle run into the 2009 hunting season, as it did two years ago? Hunting in concessions affected by this conflict will come to a stand still until the outcome is sure. With lion safaris booked up to three years in advance, this is a serious blow for not only the Safari Operators but also clients booked for 2009.
It is no secret that some concessions do in fact need a serious quota re-adjustment, especially on the cats, as 2008 saw poor results for those operators who have consistently taken their full quota without caution since hunting re-opened in 2003. Surprisingly, some of these concessions did not receive any cut in their lion quota and will be allowed to continue harvesting lion regardless. This raises a thorny issue about some Safari Operators and their commitment to the continued survival of their hunting concessions and Zambia's wildlife at large.........(continued)