Despite the fact that the status of the spotted hyena in Namibia’s Caprivi and Kavango regions is unknown, the so-called ‘trophy hunt’ is still practiced in Bwabwata National Park. People pay a certain amount of money and receive permission to shoot a hyena and take it home as a ‘trophy’. The proceeds go to the 6,000 residents of the National Park. Many of these inhabitants see the hyena (and other wildlife in the park) as a threat to their livestock. It happens regularly that they find their cattle eaten or killed. To compensate for these costs they receive the proceeds of the ‘trophy hunt’, but this is not enough to cover the lost income. Nor does it outweigh the impact that hunting has on the hyena population. This is because it does not take into account the group composition needed to keep the population healthy.
A quota has been established for ‘trophy hunting’. However, this quota is not based on actual research, but on negative expectations towards the hyenas. Evidence that it is routinely the hyenas that kill or eat the livestock is non-existent. Other wildlife, such as lions, could also have a part in this.
The Caprivi Carnivore Project is going to map out the above situation properly and will then advise the Ministry of Environment and Tourism. They will also advise on how humans and hyenas can coexist as well as possible.