Namibia Plans to Make Posting Images of Dead Wildlife to Social Media Illegal
PUBLISHED 7 AUG 2018
While the ethics of hunting tends to be a hotly debated topic, there surely cannot be any debate that posing for photographs alongside a dead animal that one has just snuffed the life out of cannot be considered honourable at all.
Now, following much public outcry after a foreign hunter recently posted a selfie of herself alongside a rare black giraffe that she had slain in South Africa surfaced on social media, the Namibian minister of Environment and Tourism, Pohamba Shifeta, has decided enough is enough, and that pictures of dead animals killed by hunters might not be good for Namibia's image.
Addressing delegates at the launch of the revised national policy on human-wildlife conflict that was recently held in Windhoek, Shifeta said his department is planning to amend the Nature Conservation Ordinance 4 of 1975 to prohibit individuals from posting images of dead wildlife on social media.
Individuals who fail to comply will be punished in accordance with the law. According to Shifeta, this new legislation will apply to everyone, including hunters with hunting permits, as it is these individuals in particular who like to "applaud themselves by posting pictures with dead animals on social media after conservancy hunting."
While Namibia is a popular destination for professional hunters from all over the world, Shifeta believes that images on social media do not accurately represent hunting in Namibia and that posting pictures of slain animals on social media is unethical.
"Hunting is permitted by the Namibian Constitution. However, it is morally not correct to post such pictures. People can take pictures for private use only, but not to post on social media," said Shifeta.
According to Shifeta, the sustainable harvesting of natural resources, including wildlife, is allowed in terms of the Constitution for the benefit of the Namibian people.
"We do not just start hunting… the Constitution allows us to hunt in a sustainable manner," the minister said.
Earlier this year, the US Fish and Wildlife Service reversed an import ban on big game trophies initiated by Barack Obama, allowing trophies to be imported from Africa on a case-by-case basis. This may have something to do with the fact that Donald Trump's sons are avid big game hunters who frequent southern Africa for their exploits.
The argument put forward by the pro-hunting lobby that hunting funds conservation efforts may hold true, but the rest of us — who will never understand how someone can derive such pleasure in killing something so beautiful — prefer to see photos of wild animals roaming about in their natural habitat in their full splendour rather than their lifeless body sprawled out behind a beaming big white hunter armed with a gun. So although it is sad that hunting will continue, hats off to the Namibian Ministry of Environment and Tourism for recognizing that the rest of civil society would rather not be exposed to the carnage as we innocently scroll through our social media feeds.