Elephant Hunting Being Used to Fund Stadium Construction
We have heard some pretty crazy hunting stories in our day, but we have never heard quite as unusual as this. In Western Zimbabwe, a relatively rural part of what amounts to a very rural country, a football (soccer) stadium is having its construction postponed due to the fact that the funding is being heavily disputed. While, in the United States, disputes regarding funding the construction of athletic stadiums typically involve taxpayers not wanting their money to pay to build a stadium that will create millions for some sports team, this is not the case in Zimbabwe.
Elephant hunting, as strange as this may sound, was set to be the primary source of cash that would be used to construct the soccer stadium. Oppah Muchinguri, Zimbabwe’s environmental minister, is allegedly preventing elephant hunts from taking place, even though his predecessor already issued 70 permits for elephants. Of course, the funds garnered from those permits would be used to directly fund the construction of the stadium in question.
While people accuse Muchinguri of stalling the hunts on purpose, the newly appointed minister was quick to hit back, saying that poachers had killed an allotment of elephants using cyanide, and that threw a bit of a monkey wrench into the plans to execute the approved hunts. According to Newsweek, Muchinguri commented on the stalled hunts by saying, “the country suffered bad publicity from the cyanide poisoning and it was felt that the hunts be stopped while the poaching issue was being handled.”
It is unclear when the hunts will be approved, but there is a lot of pressure mounting on the newly appointed minister. Environmentalists may not like the idea of hunted elephants funding a football stadium, but the fact of the matter is that Hwange National Park, where the hunts would take place, is playing host to more than 50,000 elephants, which is about 25,000 more than the park is said to be able to support. It will be interesting to see how this situation unfolds, as the hunting of elephants is a very touchy topic no matter what part of the world you are in.