Dar es Salaam – Tanzania has started auctioning hunting concessions in some of its top game reserves under a new system designed to get rid of operational misconduct.
82 hunting blocks have been lined up for auction through an online bidding process that replaces a paper tendering system said to have been compromised by state officials.
Africa Tembelea has learnt that the auction will be conducted in stages over the next three years, with the first part held from June 10, lasting seven days, offering 26 blocks.
According to the Tanzania Wildlife Management Authority (Tawa), first up for bidding at this initial stage were concessions that safari operators had returned to the government over the past three years.
Of the 26 concessions on offer, 18 were within the Selous-Mikumi ecosystem in southern Tanzania, while the rest are in Malagarasi-Muyovosi, Ruaja-Rungwa and Katavi-Rukwa.
Five of the areas are considered Category 1 (top quality) concessions, covering 5,688 out of the total 36,425 square kilometres of the 26 concessions. Tawa aims to generate $3.4 million per year.
Under the new system, hunting blocks are set to be leased out for 10 years instead of five years for Categories I and II, and 15 years instead of five for Category III blocks. These proposals are still awaiting parliamentary approval.
Local media in Tanzania reports that trophy fees for hunting elephant and lion are the most expensive — $15,000 and $12,000 respectively.
Other wild animals permitted to be hunted in Tanzania are crocodiles, hippos and other species not listed as endangered under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.
A 21-day safari would cost about $60,000 with a block hunting licence fee also going for $60,000 per year.
Last month, Tawa issued invitations for qualified companies, both local and foreign, to participate in the auction. Winning bidders will be allocated up to five areas each, which must be a mix of the three available categories.
The Tanzania Professional Hunters Association and Tanzania Hunting Operators Association (Tahoa) said they were not happy with the online auctioning.
According to the Safari Club International Foundation (SCIF), they say that the timing of the first auction, ahead of the 2019 hunting season that begins on July 1, makes it difficult for concession holders to complete preparations like building camps, cutting roads, hiring staff, and doing reconnaissance on time for the season start.