Trophy, commercial hunting bleeding financially

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The South African hunting industry, like many other sectors, is also bearing the brunt of coronavirus (COVID-19). The multi billion rand sector employs thousands of people. Hunters say the closed borders and travel restrictions has led to job losses.

Trophy and commercial hunting have been severely affected.

Professional hunter, 45 year-old Philemon Bebeda says the hunting sector faces a bleak future. Bebeda has been a professional hunter and a tour guide for years. He helps international trophy hunters navigate the African plains and bushes. He and his colleagues rely on tips from tourists. The outbreak of the coronavirus has also impacted cash flow for hunters.

Bebeda says many in the industry have already lost their jobs.

“I feel very bad because we survive on that so if don’t have clients at all we can’t survive. We need some money, we need some life, we are struggling a lot. We have lots of things to pay but we can’t pay now because we don’t have money, no income. That is our problem.”

Sampson Mbedzi works at a game ranch in Baltimore. Mbedzi says he has only gathered work experience in hunting.

“We don’t have any other experience. I can’t do anything else, all I know is hunting. Without tourism we don’t know how we will live.”

There are more than 12 000 game farms in the country, many may have to shut down.

In the video below, the Professional Hunter’s Association says the industry is feeling the pinch: