While in Namibia last month, I made a point of discussing the leopard hunting situation with Ben Beytell, director of parks and wildlife management, as well the leadership at the Namibian Professional Hunting Association (NAPHA), CEO Almut Kronsbein and President Diethelm Metzger. You'll remember that NAPHA had recommended that the Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) suspend leopard hunting with dogs and basically extend its moratorium on leopard hunting permits throughout 2010 until some new guidelines and regulations could be put in place for leopard hunting. You may have heard that MET has since announced its support for the recommendations, and that is the case. However, I'm told it will take changes at the legislative level to implement the suggestions and that may take a while. However, we should know over the next month or so, if there will be any leopard permits available for 2010. Remember, there were more than 200 extra leopard hunting permits issued this year and there are only 250 CITES export permits. (See our report in the September issue about this.) NAPHA has promised to send me what their recommendations for new leopard hunting regulations will be, and I'll send out an E-mail Extra bulletin as soon as I know anything.
I also discussed a problem we are all aware of not just in Africa but everywhere else. That is the problem of illegal operators and legally licensed operators who cut corners. I had the same conversation with Peter Butland of The Professional Hunters' Association of South Africa (PHASA). Both NAPHA and PHASA have agreed to work closely with me on this issue. I have agreed to share negative reports with them that I receive from subscribers in order for them to know what kind of complaints are being filed on operators from their respective countries and investigate any possible malfeasance. In return, both organizations have agreed to share information with me on operators found guilty of infractions and/or who lose their licenses or are expelled from their organizations. Bad operators, meaning those who operate illegally and who put clients at risk, need to be outed. They are damaging our........(continued)