By Catherine E. Semcer
Africa’s poaching crisis has captured global attention. Every 15 minutes an elephant is killed by poachers, every 8 hours a rhinoceros falls, both the prey to international criminal syndicates supplying illicit markets and destabilizing emerging economies.
What has received less attention is the role that hunters are playing in ending Africa’s poaching crisis. That will be the subject of “Anti-Poaching: Coastal Mozambique”- a documentary premiering on The Sportsman Channel on August 6 at 7:00 PM Eastern. Hosted by renowned outdoor television host Craig Boddington, and produced by Conrad Evarts, the film tells the story of the anti-poaching unit formed by Zambeze Delta Safaris, a hunting operation working in Coutada 11, a remote area of Mozambique.
Coutada 11 is one of Africa’s great remaining wildlands. After decades of civil war that had depleted the area of wildlife, the anti-poaching and other conservation efforts of Zambeze Delta Safaris (ZDS) have made the Coutada one of the world’s great ecological restoration stories. Sable antelope, once numbering only 44 animals, have increased to a population of almost 1200. Cape buffalo numbers have grown from a low of just over 1,000 to over 21,000. Elephants in the area have remained secure, with the region being one of the only in Mozambique to see an increase in their numbers.
This success is made possible only because of Zambeze Delta Safari’s reinvestment of revenue in conservation efforts, the generous donations of hunting clients and the support of non-governmental organizations like Humanitarian Operations Protecting Elephants (H.O.P.E.), which leverages the skills of US veterans to provide African anti-poaching programs with training, advisory, assistance and procurement services.
Thanks to this support, the ZDS anti-poaching guards are able to leverage a combination of helicopters, trucks, a rapid reaction motorcycle force and finely honed bushcraft skills to push back against the shadow of poaching while creating economic security and opportunity for the people who live in the area.
The story told in “Anti-Poaching: Coastal Mozambique” shows the important role that hunting and hunters play in conserving Africa’s wildlife populations, especially in areas where photo tourism is not economically viable. It is a story that deserves to be shared and one that will resonate with hunters, non-hunters and all who care about the responsible stewardship of our world’s natural heritage.
Catherine E. Semcer is the Chief Operations Officer of Humanitarian Operations Protecting Elephants (H.O.P.E.), a 501(c)(3) organization providing world class training, advisory, assistance and procurement services to African anti-poaching programs. H.O.P.E. would like to thank the Golden Gate Chapter of Safari Club International and Safari Club International Foundation for their generous support in the making of this documentary.