Kai-Uwe Denker – NAPHA President 2016August 24, 2017
Janneman Brand – NAPHA President 2013August 24, 2017
or many institutions concerned with nature conservation the year 2016 was rather tumultuous at times, and NAPHA is no exception. Preparations for the IUCN World Conservation Congress and the CITES Conference of Parties, and the endeavours of some groups to discredit hunting, cast a long shadow. e bottom line is that a large section of the general population and most of the responsible institutions could not help but admit that respectful and sustainable hunting can indeed play an important role in the protection of natural habitats.
Namibia’s well functioning and well-structured conservation strategy played a leading role in achieving this. It makes us proud but at the same time a little uneasy, too. Constant praise can lead to carelessness and a tendency to ignore small deficiencies. Therefore we would like to repeat last year’s message in a slightly altered form: Responsible action is needed – not only, but especially by us hunters, so that we continue to live up to Namibia’s excellent reputation.
Last year we expressed the hope and the wish in this space that the general public would enter into a constructive dialog with the hunting fraternity on the very matter which is so dear to all of us: the protection of the marvellous nature and the wild animals of our country.
Such dialog took place in many cases and NAPHA is thankful for the openness and the honesty that was shown to us from many sides. It can be reiterated that hunting, if practised respectfully and sustainably, is an important tool of practical nature conservation. No doubt portrayals which deliberately put hunting in a bad light will continue, just as misconduct and offences on the part of hunters will have to be dealt with in future as well. at is a matter of human nature. Just take a look at the sometimes very questionable conduct among the so-called elite of society – politicians, famous sportsmen or church officials – just as much as among ordinary people. But the subject matter as such, hunting, is not only an indispensable part of nature but also an essential part of successful conservation strategies.
“Respectful and sustainable hunting can indeed play an important role in the protection of natural habitats.”
There is a deep satisfaction in leading an original life, in living o the land. is might become apparent in the satisfaction a planter feels when looking over his plantation and eventually harvesting his crop. There is a deep satisfaction for a fisherman, not only in pulling a sh from the river but even more in enjoying the peace of a quiet stream. There is intense satisfaction for a hunter to be out in the wilderness and be part of the ancient rhythm of nature. Is this feeling unjustified? With all due respect, who is entitled to decide that man should not be part of natural settings, not be allowed to take wild fruit or mushrooms from the land? Should not be allowed to catch a sh or bag a wild animal?
Isn’t it rather a question of tolerance to let individuals decide whether they would like to participate in nature or lead a nature-detached life – of course always under the precondition that a basic human understanding of fair treatment of any living creature is maintained and that sustainability is ensured. In this context it has to be noted that modern western ways of life are unsustainable in their destruction of nature, waste gas emission and pollution in general. ere is an urgent need for schemes to stop the on-going destruction of natural habitats. Hunting is one.
And let us remain tolerant and practical. Non-hunting nature lovers hang the horns of a stag over their garage door. The horns of kudu or sable, or even the skin of a lion, adorn many a tourist lodge. They add a air of the wilderness to human dwellings. Is this wrong? Must these unquestionably beautiful natural artefacts rot in the wild because some people lead ideological campaigns against an ancient natural human way of doing things? Where do we start and where do we stop? May we display minerals or pieces of dead wood in our homes?
The trophy hunter is the dedicated high-end tourist willing to travel to remote regions and hunt under adverse conditions, even prepared to return empty-handed. is kind of low- impact, high-output client is indispensable for true wilderness conservation. At some stage enough must be enough and – instead of throwing the baby out with the bathwater – we should cross the ideological trenches and work towards the same goal: the protection of Africa’s magnificent nature.
NAPHA, as always, will continue to strive to maintain the high ethical standard of professional hunting and the strict adherence to legal regulations and requirements by Namibia’s professional hunting sector.
We would like to thank the clients who visit our beautiful country and through their outdoor adventure make such an important contribution to the conservation of our wildlife and its habitats. Please always hunt with a NAPHA member, because when in doubt the presence of a NAPHA member enables everyone concerned to practice hunting in a manner which does justice to our claim that hunting is applied wildlife conservation.
This article was first published in the HuntiNamibia 2017 issue.