Namibia Leopard Hunting With Hounds Under Scrutiny


Published: July - 2009

On the topic of leopard hunting in Namibia, Africa correspondent Steve Scott reports he just returned from a leopard hunt over hounds there and took the opportunity to check out the controversies surrounding these hunts. Objections about this type of hunting have resurfaced again after that recent accident I told you about involving Brittany Boddington. Some laud the practice as an efficient and sporting way to hunt, but others view pursuit with hounds as unethical because they believe the outcome is determined before the hunt even begins. Still others charge that this style of hunting is simply too dangerous, putting hunting clients at extraordinary risk. Wherever you stand on the question of hunting leopard with hounds, events in Namibia could spell the end of this type of hunting there. Here's what Scott found out:

"When I began looking into this I was surprised to learn that when hunting with hounds in Namibia, leopards are not legally classified as dangerous game. That lead me to investigate this hunting method armed with two hypotheses: 1) Namibia is the current epicenter of leopard/hound hunting, so surely there would be more accidents occurring there; and 2) professional hunters not licensed for dangerous game were involved in a proportionately higher number of these hunting accidents. As it turned out, I was wrong on both counts.

"After several hours in the archives of the Republiken, Wind- hoek's English-language newspaper, I found no more than a handful of leopard incidents reported over the last few years, and certainly not proportionately more than comparable hunting countries. Now, I know that `reported' and `actual' numbers of accidents are almost certainly two different things, but the same would be true of any other hunting area. So, on Assumption #1, my instincts were clearly off base. Assumption #2 must surely be the answer.

"On this count, I was wrong as well. Though it seems odd, the facts revealed, on a proportional basis, as many big game licensed PHs had leopard accidents as did non-big game licensed hunters. Based on the numbers, it appears the lack of........(continued)

 
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