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Body Unpolitic

By Dishonourable Ember
This week I leave it up to you to consider our topics to be political, of national importance or just the ramblings of another columnist.

This past weekend I was in an excellent position to have a first-hand look at game hunting and some of its implications. I saw more different animals in fourdays than fit into Noah's Ark and got to hear about and experience the rationale behind government's policy of sustainable wildlife utilization and management - and, yes, that does include hunting. It also includes inviting people with the necessary funds from anywhere in the world to come and hunt in Namibia and leave some sorely-needed foreign capital in the country.

Professional hunting, including trophy hunting, is, by the very nature of things, a preserve of the well-heeled - here or elsewhere in the world. A hunting expedition, safari, trip (call it what you want) does not come cheap. Figures of US$ 50 000 are by no means rare. Add to this the cost of travelling to Namibia and back home, the costs of the necessary permits for the animals, the costs of mounting the trophies or preparing the skins and the transport back to the country of the hunter, and you will have a tidy sum of money that changes hands. And, as far as I can establish, most if not all the money stays in the country as most owners of hunting farms are indeed Namibians.

On the economic front this provides a vast number of job opportunities, which in turn, makes it imperative for our training institutions to have programmes ready to train youngsters in the theoretical knowledge needed, while various professional hunters or their employers will take the opportunity to provide the necessary practical knowledge.

On a completely different front, the steady hunting of the old stock prepares the way for younger animals to take over leadership positions and keeps the bloodlines healthy, thus ensuring biodiversity for a long time ahead.

The real and imaginary animal lovers will immediately be in two very much opposite camps about this. The real animal conservationist will - mostly - agree with what is written above; the other - like those who profess their love for seals - and the vegans of the world - will be in violent opposition. Well, to each his own; the facts are on the table and they can be substantiated by experts in the field.

Over the past weeks, Namibia has lost two people instrumental in the first acts of Independence. Dr Otto Herrigel became Namibia's first Minister of Finance, and then Hans-GŁnther Stier, an accountant/auditor who assisted SWAPO with the first set of official books when they returned from exile in 1989. He lay in intensive care in one of our hospitals for some time and president Pohamba was but one of the many visitors before Stier passed away.

Both men left deep tracks in Namibian history. While dr Herrigel eschewed any form of official funeral by request, mr Stier has received a State Funeral. Our condolences to both families, their friends and acquaintances. They were but two of the stalwarts the modern Namibian republic is founded on. Proud Namibian indeed.





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