Government decides to slaughter 25 elephants in Mozambique
Adérito Caldeira
10 April 2019

The Government of Philip Nyusi, which has as one of its priorities “Ensuring the Sustainable and Transparent Management of Natural Resources and the Environment” and receives millions of dollars from donors for the National Plan of Protection of the Elephant, determined the slaughter of 25 pachyderms by the end this year.

Environmentalists say the @Verdade not being public the criteria used in setting the quota of even more slaughter pending the results of the third National Census of what is the largest land mammal.

From 1 April to 30 November is the hunting season in Mozambique, during which the Ministerial Diploma 23/2019 of March 15, initialed by Minister Celso Correia, established the quotas for the slaughter of 19,864 wild animals. 

They stand out in the document in the possession of @ True 49 lions, 103 leopards and 25 elephants to be slaughtered that everything indicates by hunters.

Mozambique is one of the largest elephant cemeteries in the world, about 10,000 were killed by poachers between 2010 and 2015 reducing the population to about 9 thousand animals. In the years that followed, nearly 500 elephants were killed by illegal hunters seeking their ivory teeth, which from the conservation areas are trafficked by ports and domestic airports to the avid markets in China.

With the start of the governance of Philip Nyusi became the protection of the elephant, as well as other animal species, in a national priority so the @Verdade questioned the Ministry of Land, Environment and Rural Development (MITADER) why a protected species was in the list of animals to be hunted in 2019.

After more than a week, Minister Celso Correia, as well as the National Administration of Conservation Areas (ANAC), did not respond to the queries of @Verdade.

Elephant Hunt Costs at Least $50,000

An official at one of the wilderness farms in southern Mozambique where six elephants will be slaughtered tried to explain to @Verdade that “animals occupy a territorial space, eat and drink water and hunting is a sustainable management tool.”

The source who asked not to be identified cited as an example part of Kruger National Park that will be semi-desert “the explanation is one, elephants push the trees and how much they are in an amount beyond the load of a certain area are a problem and have that is to diminish those that are more”.

“Yes it generates revenues that are paid to the state and 20 percent go to the surrounding communities,” confirmed our interviewee who estimated at least 50 thousand US dollars the minimum cost of an elephant hunt.

Hunting Can Generate Revenue to Protect Wildlife and Benefit Local People

For environmentalist and conservationist Alastair Nelson nothing justifies the hunting of animals particularly the African elephant however in many countries. “The costs of protecting the environment, wildlife and natural areas are borne by poor people living in conservation areas or near them. These costs are direct, for example, damage in the fields, or indirect, lack of access to resources or land.”

“Ideally, these costs should be alleviated by the government, which should target economic development and social upgrading initiatives in these areas because these people incur costs for national benefit – national parks or protection of forests and river basins that benefit downstream users etc. The people involved are relatively few in these remote areas, so governments and their development partners do not take on this responsibility and prefer to say that conservation organizations have find finding ways to generate direct revenue from activities and share the benefits,” he explained.

According to Nelson, who has extensive experience working on biodiversity protection in Mozambique, and beyond, “There are a few ways to do this, and trophy hunting is one of them. Trophy hunting is a particularly good tool in remote and wild places that are uncomfortable and hard to reach, and have low densities of wildlife. Most tourists who travel for photos do not want to go to these places and most of the wildlife areas in Mozambique fit that description, so hunting is important to bring revenue to government departments that protect wildlife and wildlife environment, and also to bring benefits to the local population.”

However, attention is drawn to important aspects that have to work in order for hunting to be effective for conservation. “Is the recipe being collected correctly? Is the recipe being used properly and transparently? Do the right benefits flow to the local population regularly and transparently? Are the sites involved in the management of conservation areas?”

Quota for Slaughter in Areas Where Wildlife is Being Repopulated

However, there is a second aspect that needs to be safeguarded which is related to the numbers of wildlife in Mozambique, especially elephants.

Alastair Nelson pointed out that without the recent elephant count data he can not delve into the issue adequately, alluding to data from the 3rd National Elephant Census that are expected to be released in the coming months.

“But what I can say is that ANAC is doing its best to monitor and manage the elephant population in Mozambique. They stopped the elephant hunt in the Niassa Reserve after the count of 2014, which showed such a large decline there. This is the most important hunting area in Mozambique, and elephant hunting brought a lot of revenue. There are some hunting areas in Mozambique that have done a very good job of protecting elephants, and I am sure they have populations healthy enough to hunt,” he clarified.

Nelson pointed out that we need to take into account whether the number of elephants to be hunted is to areas where we know that poaching rates are negligible and elephant populations are still increasing; to determine how many male elephants are in specific sub-populations of elephants in Mozambique; and, once we have an estimate for male elephants in these sub-populations, determine if 25 is a sustainable amount to be slaughtered.

In addition the conservationist revealed to Truth that trophy hunting is done for adult elephants because in addition to the hunt it generates ivory revenue that can be exported to the country of origin of the hunter, naturally through an existing legal process. The so-called human-animal conflict usually has young male protagonists who are still establishing their domains.

Paradoxically part of the share of elephants to be slaughtered is allocated to wilderness farms in the Limpopo Transfrontier Park area which was stripped of wildlife and has donated animals from Zimbabwe and Botswana to be repopulated.

Biggest Evangelical Church in Southern Africa Threatens Leopards in Mozambique

Regarding the leopard hunt that this year is scheduled to hit 103, the ANAC told @Verdade in 2017 to ignore the exact population of animals in Mozambique,however, he warned that a tradition of the largest evangelical church in South Africa, professed by the Zulus, was threatening leopards in Mozambique.

“They wear garments based on leopard skin,” said Carlos Lopes Pereira, chief of the Department of Surveillance of the National Administration of Conservation Areas, who regretted that “there are no more leopards to do this.” 

Translated from the Portuguese by an automated online translation service. See link for original article: