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Home  l  Hunting

The Hunting Safari: A Means of Conservation
in the Selous Game

Submitted by ian williamson  l  March 24 2006  l  Viewings: 6644

The Hunting Safari: A Means of Conservation in the Selous Game

By ian williamson [ 25/01/2006 ]
[ viewed 36 times ]

The Selous Game reserve is internationally recognized as one of best managed areas in Africa. Poaching in this reserve is minimal and animal populations including Elephants are thriving. What is the storey behind this success? This was not always the storey for this area once the Selous Game Reserve was under threat from the blight of the poachers.

The Selous Game Reserve is huge with only a small section of the park used for photography safaris and another section used for hunting safaris. Many people, including myself, have a hard time understanding that the hunting safari is a good thing for conservation. However, if it were not for the hunting safari the Selous would be a waste land devoid of animals.

Hunting is the success storey behind the Selous which is fast becoming an area that is the place to see game whilst on safari in Africa. The reserve suffered greatly from poaching in the late 1970s and most of the 1980s.

Disaster struck in 1973 when the Tanzania Government gave way under considerable international pressure to ban hunting from the Selous. Once this ban took hold the rot set in, the decline of this park was as rapid as it was dramatic. Poaching gangs of up to sixty people descended into the reserve. The many rhinos in Stieglers Gorge were poached out and elephants slaughtered in colossal numbers.

Despite the reserve being declared a World Heritage Site in 1982, the massive slaughter of elephants had begun. Numbers of 100,000 elephants were reduced to less than 30,000 by 1991. It was reported that every day twenty elephants died at the hands of these poaching gangs.

With the help several conservation organizations from outside and within Africa and the determination of the Tanzanian Government this downward spiral was halted. Determined and brave young wardens were put into the parks and the fight against illegal poaching began, at last, to be won. Hunting was reintroduced into the reserve; with the hunters kept well away from the photographic tourists. The revenue generated from the hunting helps greatly to fund the effective management of the Selous.

Animals are carefully monitored and this enables quotes of specific animals to be allocated to the short hunting season. Hunting is therefore returning the Selous Game Reserve to its former glory. As mentioned at the beginning of this article this area of Tanzania is now thriving thanks to a careful managed policies including hunting; which is used as a means of conservation.

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