Namibia had completed the long-awaited auction of its government hunting concessions. Continuing subscribers know the Namibian government has put off the auctioning of these areas since 2005. This past December, you'll remember the Namibian Ministry of Environment had again scheduled and then abruptly cancelled the auction once more. Well, it has finally happened. On April 22, 2009, the ministry held the auction and reportedly nine concessions went to several safari companies registered with the Namibia Tourism Board and the Ministry of Environment. The areas are all outside of community conservancies and include concessions in the Mahango Game Park, which is part of the Bwabwata National Park, concessions in the Eastern and Western Kavango, Mangetti National Park, Waterberg Plateau Park and Daan Viljoen and Von Back Game Parks. The quotas include black and white rhino, elephant, buffalo, sable, roan, hippo, crocodile, leopard, lechwe, kudu, blue wildebeest, impala, duiker, giraffe, warthog, Burchell's and Hartman's zebra, steenbok, oryx, spotted hyena and eland. Hunts for black rhino reportedly will be limited to one post-productive bull per year over the next three years.
The main reason that had been given for postponing the auction of these trophy hunting areas had always been the issue of Black Economic Empowerment (BEE). Namibia, like South Africa, has struggled to find ways that native peoples could benefit economically from the eco-tourism and safari industries. It seems Namibia has successfully met that need by requiring safari companies applying for the auction to be at least 20 percent owned by formerly disadvantaged Namibians. We'll have a complete report on all the companies that secured these concessions in the next issue of The Hunting Report.