License fees for endemic species, such as mountain nyala, Menelick's bushbuck and gelada baboon, were tripled, while all others were doubled. The fees were to take effect immediately. The raw news appeared almost instantaneously on the popular online forum Accurate Reloading, igniting a string of angry comments burning through the ether of cyber space. Outfitters feared a rush of cancellations, and the Ethiopian Professional Hunters' Association jumped into action, securing a meeting with the Ethiopian Wildlife Conservation Authority (EWCA) to discuss the situation.
The result of that meeting was a postponement on the implementation of those new fees until the next quota period, which begins on July 11, 2009. That coincides with the new Ethiopian fiscal year as well. Right now, if you have a hunt scheduled by that date, you can expect to pay the old rates and should not see any increases in costs passed on to you. What will happen after July 11th is still to be determined.
A number of meetings between EPHA and EWCA are scheduled to be held over the next few months. EPHA hopes to work out a compromise and come up with a mutually acceptable increase, as license fees have not been increased in Ethiopia since hunting reopened in 1995 - that's 14 years ago. An increase may well be due, but certainly not by 200 to 300 percent, especially........(continued)