South African safari operator Ferdi Kemp of Namibia Pro Hunting & Safaris has admitted to taking a US client on an illegal leopard hunt in Namibia in 2009 and was charged a fine of N$4,000 by the Okahandja magistrate's court in Namibia. Kemp was operating in Namibia without a license or registration. Without that he could not get a hunting permit for the leopard much less an export permit or CITES permit from Namibian authorities. The Ministry of Environment and Tourism began investigating Kemp only because the hunter lodged an official complaint earlier this year. The hunter complained because his trophy was never shipped. Complicit with Kemp was Namibian PH Gideon Cloete, who was also fined for acting as the dog handler on this illegal hunt. Unfortunately this is not an isolated incident. Namibia has had numerous problems with illegal safari operators hosting unsuspecting clients. They have gotten away with it by having a landowner or a Namibian PH sign for hunting permits. Make no mistake, these are illegal hunts, and US hunters who import trophies taken with one of these operators become guilty of a Lacey Act violation, even for non-CITES species. Illegal operators put their clients at risk. I asked Almut Kronsbein, CEO of the Namibian Professional Hunting Association (NAPHA) (firstname.lastname@example.org), and Marina Lamprecht (email@example.com), an executive member of that organization, for their advice on how hunters can avoid falling prey to these unscrupulous operators. Here's what they urged: 1) ask to see your operator's license/registration, or check on his membership with NAPHA; 2) ask to see your hunting permit and make sure your name, the dates of the hunt and the name of your Namibian-registered PH is on the permit. The PH whose name is on the permit must be present for the hunt at all times.