Africa: Zambia Opens Non-Trophy Elephant Hunting, Plus Update on Sandwe GMA

During the SCI convention in Las Vegas we learned that Zambia will allow some non-trophy elephant hunting starting in 2018. We confirmed this with Valerio Ventriglia of Kantanta Hunting Safaris (, who operates the Sandwe GMA in the Luangwa Valley.

Sandwe normally has two elephant on quota each year but will have at least one non-trophy elephant on an additional quota this season. According to Ventriglia, the non-trophy hunts will be for tuskless elephant, which generally means an older cow with no calf.

Jeff Rann of Ivory Safaris (, who holds the Chikwa and Fulaza GMAs, told us, “The Zambia Department of National Parks and Wildlife [DNPW] has issued a ‘tuskless quota’ of 13 for 2018 for Luangwa Valley concessions holders only. Qualifying operators received one per concession. This is in addition to the trophy elephant quota of two bulls for most Luangwa concessions.

“There is some confusion as to whether the tuskless bull or cow can be exported, but the Zambian DNPW is saying that it forms part of the annual CITES quota and therefore the skin should be exportable.”

Sarge Karim of Mopane Safaris ( told us that the DNPW meets in late Feb. and will communicate final details to operators. We will update readers with any additional information we receive.

Readers of The Hunting Report and Conservation Force Bulletin are aware that US elephant import permits are up in the air following a district court decision on the 2014–2015 Zimbabwe enhancement findings, which may have broader implications for Endangered Species Act permits. Although there’s reason to be optimistic, this is the latest in a long series of roadblocks faced by American hunters. Non-trophy elephant hunts may help Zambia operators make up some of the shortfall in the meantime.

Zambia has continued to strengthen its sustainable hunting programs, and a number of disused and poached-out blocks in Zambia have made a comeback since the reallocations in 2015 and 2016 (see articles 3456, 3479, 3569). As an example, Valerio Ventriglia updated us on positive developments on Kantanta’s Sandwe GMA (see Article 3996 for background). Sandwe is currently designated as a secondary GMA, but Ventriglia says that the area will soon have game numbers equivalent to those of the prime zones. Sandwe borders South Luangwa National Park and Peter Chipman’s Kwalata GMA.

“We have opened 200 kilometers of roads in Sandwe, including 100 kilometers in 2017, allowing us to extend antipoaching and hunting operations. Within five years we expect to have the area back to peak condition not seen since the 1970s. Right now, the area is as good as the prime areas for leopard.” Ventriglia has also helped to establish a community resource board that disburses hunting funds to projects that the board proposes.

Ventriglia’s clients have taken some excellent trophies, including a 64-pound elephant in 2016 and an eight-year-old lion last season. Ventriglia has one lion and three leopard on quota for 2018, as well as 15 buffalo. He offers a 14-day leopard/buffalo safari for $30,000 US.