I received some feedback this month regarding native Tanzanian Professional Hunters. You'll recall, I mentioned in the November issue that despite a new requirement that safari companies hire a native Tanzanian PH for every expatriate PH on staff, there would be no immediate changes in staffing at most companies. That's because there simply aren't enough Tanzanian PHs to meet the requirement. That prompted a letter from a subscriber who has asked to remain anonymous. He says Tanzanian PHs are not getting the recognition or opportunities they deserve, and that the system that would have given it to them has long been broken. He writes, "In the old days, TAWICO had a very good program for the young citizens of Tanzania who wished to enter the hunting profession. The government provided them the opportunity to go to Mweka Wildlife College to get them qualified as professional hunters. Then they provided a way for block holders to hire them as a second PH. In some cases, these individuals would become the top PH. This was the case with Cotton Gordon and Hilary Daffi, who was much in demand by clients who hunted with Gordon every year.
"When the International Monetary Fund stepped in and forced the government to sell off its parastatals, TAWICO was a casualty. This should never have happened because it has all but eliminated any opportunity for the black Tanzanian professional hunters in their own country.
"The black professional hunters who came out of this system, and are dwindling fast, do not need to take a photograph of a lion and then come back to camp to send it by satellite to the office in Arusha for approval the following morning to shoot it. They can tell within 30 seconds if the lion is shootable. This, of course, is important to the client because the lion may not show up the next afternoon!
"The black professional hunter out of this system does not need his trackers to tell him every move to make, every step to take, all the while speaking in broken Swahili........(continued)