NAMIBIA: More Roan & Tsessebe Would Boost Revenue

WINDHOEK – Increasing the densities of roan antelope and tsessebe could increase the numbers of hunter days five-fold and also double the gross income earned from the wildlife species.This is contained in the background information and species management guidelines for Namibia’s rare and valuable roan, a sable antelope and tsessebe – a booklet released last year by the Transboundary Mammal Project of the Ministry of Environment and Tourism.Namibia has about 800 roan antelopes, 1 200 sable antelope and 350 tsessebe. Half of these animals are on freehold farms while the rest are in areas with low rainfall which does not augur well for their survival.

The three are classified as Low Risk Conservation Dependent, meaning they are not threatened at the global, continental and regional levels.

They are however of conservation concern in Namibia because their numbers are low and declining. Many of their sub-populations are also isolated from one another.

The booklet says substantial populations of the three species are likely to have significant effects on wildlife tourism for game viewing, live capture and sale and sport hunting.

“Enhancing the populations of these antelopes would further increase land use values as existing wildlife uses are already more profitable than subsistence agriculture and cattle husbandry – the role or potential role of these species in a land use context is very significant,” says the booklet, adding that the development of substantial populations of the three species on private farms will probably also increase the viability of the farms.

The effects of the increase would be more pronounced in Caprivi and Kavango regions, which are already guaranteed tourist destinations.

Roan, sable and tsessebe are highly prized hunting trophies, whose potential income from sport hunting could almost double by including reasonable quotas of these species in international sport hunting quotas.

The booklet says the high value of the species in international safari hunting could result in the net income from wildlife-based land use being substantially increased.

“If the densities of roan and tsessebe could be increased from one square kilometer and sable density increased to two kilometers, this would result in the five-fold increase in the numbers of hunter days, a doubling of gross income from about US$5 per hectare to US$10 per hectare and an increase of some 20 percent in net earnings from the land,” it said.

Auction prices per animal in May 2008 were N$120 000 for roan antelope, N$160 000 for sable antelope and N$21 000 for tsessebe, according to the booklet.

The contribution of the three species to the potential earnings under non-hunting tourism in certain parts of the range could be even higher. Especially in areas where tourism is low, such as in the northeastern part of Namibia, an abundance of the species would make a difference.

Wezi Tjaronda - The New Era