The catalyst for this meeting and the recommendations resulting from it was the moratorium on leopard hunting permits announced by MET on June 15. You'll remember I told you about this development in the July issue of The Hunting Report. The moratorium was implemented because MET had already issued its entire quota of 250 CITES export permits for 2009. This was the first time Namibia had issued its entire quota for leopard, and there were still another six months or so of the hunting season left. The news created quite a stir, especially among safari operators with clients booked for a leopard hunt later in the season. What additionally astonished many was that MET had issued more than 200 leopard hunting permits over the export quota. Conceivably, another 200 leopards could be taken by the end of the season in November.
A grapevine sprang up almost immediately, passing on news and speculations in e-mails, on forums and over the phone lines. I received several of these communications myself. Their focus was basically on the problems of leopard hunting with hounds and how this style of hunting is responsible for the filled quota and a host of illegal and unethical activities that are putting leopard hunting in Namibia at risk. I've heard stories asserting everything from accusing hound hunters of consistently following........(continued)