Tanzanian hunting firm turns to photo tourism to save wildlife

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TRAVEL GAZETTE – Nearly 200 large mammals in a northern Tanzania’s sanctuary have been saved from being killed after a tourist hunting firm decided to abandon hunting, its core business, and opted for photo tourism.

The firm, EBN Hunting Safari Ltd, owns a hunting block in Burunge Wildlife Management Area (WMA) located in Tanzania’s wildlife-rich northern tourist circuit, which is very close to Tarangire and Manyara National Parks.

The WMA is widely known for its large buffalo population that moves in and out of Tarangire. Lake Burunge in the WMA also attracts the migration of water birds such as flamingoes and a range of ducks and shore birds.

Tanzania’s tourist hunting industry dates back in 1946 when game controlled areas were established and divided into hunting blocks whereby professional hunters and their clients could hunt trophy animals.

The law allows a hunting tourist firm to kill 24 animals per year such as elephants, lions, and buffaloes, but for the last four years EBN didn’t do so. Instead, it decided to conserve them, as some of them are under threat of being extinct due to reckless poaching.

“We’re putting better mechanisms to make them live comfortably. We’re now concentrating in photo tourism, which is sustainable ways of managing wildlife resources in the country,” said Leonard Werema, Human Resource and Relations manager of the firm.

According to Werema, the move has helped boost the number of wild animals in the community-owned sanctuary.

“We’ve been seeing the number of visitors increasing in the area as they are assured of seeing the big five. This alone makes the government get its revenue and WMA benefit out of conservation initiatives,” added Werema.

One of the owners of the firm, Nicolas Negre, said that it’s high time for the hunting business to come to an end.

“If you kill a lion, elephants today that is the end of the story,” he said, suggesting the need for the government to review the law for the best of tourism.

“We’re encouraging the endeavors taken by this company. We need more companies to emulate this spirit, which is healthier to the tourism industry in Tanzania,” said Joel Bendera, Manyara Regional Commissioner. Enditem

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