QWAYI, February 28 (The Source) - Safari operators in Zimbabwe are predicting an increase of between 20-30 percent in revenue during this year's trophy hunting season after Botswana banned the practice citing shrinking wildlife resources.
Botswana's ban took effect from January 1 this year because several species in the country were showing decline, and local operators say this has seen enthusiasts focusing on Zimbabwe.
“We are expecting between 20 to 30 percent more in revenue than in the previous hunting season because of the spill -overs from the Botswana ban," said Langton Masunda, chairperson of the Hwange-Gwayi-Dete Conservancy in Matabeleland North.
The conservancy is home to the Big Five -- lion, elephant, buffalo, leopard and rhino.
Trophy hunting generated $45 million last year, and could rise to $60 million this year.
Masunda said current conditions were also ideal for hunting.
"There is water everywhere and the quality of the game has improved and so is their (game) visibility which is good for hunters," said Masunda.
Most hunting is conducted between April and October with June, July and August being the most popular months for hunting safaris.
Masunda said the European Union had lifted travel warnings to the country when it removed Zimbabwe's political and military elite from sanctions two weeks ago, which augurs well for the industry.
“We expect more clients (from the EU) now that they are able to get international travel insurance to visit Zimbabwe to hunt,” said Masunda.
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