As you know, I've been following developments on leopard hunting in Namibia for some months now, including the moratorium on leopard and cheetah permits that was first implemented last June. (See Article IDs 2317 and 2276 in our online database.) MET executed the moratorium, you'll recall, because Namibia had issued its entire quota of CITES export permits for leopard by June, a first in its history. The reason the quota was filled in only a few months was the super efficiency and number of hunts conducted with dogs last season. That led to much scrutiny of how leopard permits are issued and whether this method of hunting should be abolished.
A specially-elected committee at the Namibia Professional Hunting Association (NAPHA) submitted recommendations for regulation changes to MET. By late November, MET had a finalized draft for new regulations to be implemented by the Ministry of Justice, but national elections put the skids on those efforts. Until new officials are appointed, the regulations cannot be put into effect. For that reason, MET extended the moratorium into 2010.
The hunting season in Namibia closed at the end of November and does not reopen until February, but insiders do not expect the new leopard and cheetah hunting regulations to be gazetted until spring at the earliest. That means no leopard hunting until the new regulations are announced. If you have a leopard hunt booked for 2010, call your operator immediately to learn what your options are, especially if your hunt was scheduled for the early part of the season. Be aware that the changes in regulations may include new restrictions, perhaps even a ban on........(continued)