I have heard from two different operators who say they have decided not to operate this year due to the closure of lion/leopard and elephant, coupled with cuts to their other quotas but no reduction in their concession fees. One area had its buffalo quota cut in half. Others have also seen cuts but will be carrying out safaris nonetheless. Not all areas got quota cuts, mind you, and several will continue business as usual. Ranch hunts, of course, are unaffected.
I spoke with Fico Vidale of Vidale Safaris (www.vidalesafaris.net), who serves as Chairman of the Professional Hunters Association of Zambia (PHAZ) and also of the Safari Hunting Operators Association of Zambia (SHOAZ). Vidale says that they have appealed to ZAWA to reassess the concession fees, taking into consideration the loss of income and value due to the closure of cats and elephants and other quota cuts. Those meetings were taking place at press time, and Vidale was optimistic. If ZAWA adjusts their concession fees appropriately, all the outfitters should be able to operate this season. Vidale says he expects all the operators will start conducting safaris in June.
Also on the table is allowing clients to pay for only trophies that they actually shoot. This would encourage hunters and their guides to let borderline trophies walk instead of taking an animal just because they have already paid for it. This change would be better for game and trophy management efforts throughout the country.
While many would say that the remaining open concessions in Zambia are "depleted areas" that are not worth........(continued)