A UN-backed program to help rural economic development in impoverished regions of Zimbabwe uses trophy hunting as a key part of its strategy.


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The mostly dry Chiredzi district in southeastern Zimbabwe will grow drier as rainfall becomes increasingly uncertain, but trophy hunting and rearing crocodiles for their meat and skins can become major money earners to help rural households overcome poverty while adapting to climate change. In one of several initiatives under a project backed by the UN and government, elephants, warthogs, giraffes, buffaloes and impala – a type of antelope – are kept in an area measuring about 7,000 square kilometres and sold to trophy hunters licensed by the government in cooperation with the district authorities, while the community gets free meat from the slain animals.
“The project is now well established and the beneficiaries are building a school and a clinic from the money they receive from the sale of the animals,” said Leonard Unganyi, who manages the project run jointly by the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the government-controlled Environment Management Agency (EMA). “They have also bought a truck and set up a grain-grinding mill to benefit the community.” He said the project, which helps communities cope with drought and climate change, would be replicated in other parts of the country because 90 percent of Zimbabwean farmers depend on rain-fed agriculture and are struggling to become food secure._

Thoughts? Is it surprising to see such programs get favorable press?