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The Botswana Wildlife Producers Association (BWPA) has expressed discontent with the United Kingdom's Hunting Trophies (Import Prohibition) Bill. 

The bill tabled in the UK's Parliament in 2022 seeks to prohibit the import of hunting trophies into the UK.

Speaking at a media briefing in Gaborone today, the Chairperson of BWPA, Leonard Matenje, says the proposed bill will have a negative impact on communities dependent on the income from hunting management in Africa.

He says species classified as endangered and vulnerable in the bill, such as giraffes, leopards, hippos, and African elephants, are in no way vulnerable in the southern African countries.

Matenje noted that even though few trophies are currently imported into the UK from Botswana, the ban on the import of trophies into the UK will have a systematic impact on the viability of the hunting industry in many African countries.

Further adding that there is a potential for the spillover effect of the ban to influence other countries such as Finland, France, Germany, and Italy as they are considering hunting import bans.

This threat, he says, cannot be ignored, as there is no evidence that hunting in Botswana or in Southern Africa is leading to species declining to levels of being endangered, as reported.

Further adding that any support for the ban or restrictions on the importation of hunting trophies will be detrimental to the conservation efforts in Southern Africa. 

He therefore called on the UK to consult communities on the ground that directly benefit from trophy hunting.

Currently, Namibia, Botswana, South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Zambia highly benefit from trophy hunting.

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July Nafuka