Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries

DENIAL AND WHITEWASHING IS PUSHING THE RHINO SPECIES TO EXTINCTION

PUBLIC STATEMENT

TUESDAY 2ND FEBRUARY 2021

South Africa bears the enormous responsibility of being the custodian of ninety percent of the world’s southern black and white rhino population. 

Yesterday the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries (DEFF) published a graphic stating  that during 2020, 394 rhinos were poached for their horn in South Africa. This is apparently 33% less than the 594 rhinos that were killed in 2019, and furthermore it marks the sixth year that rhino poaching has continued to decrease in South Africa. 

Minister Barbara Creecy stated: “While the extraordinary circumstances surrounding the battle to beat the COVID_19 pandemic contributed in part to the decrease in rhino poaching in 2020, the role of rangers and security personnel who remained at their posts, and the additional steps taken by the government to effectively deal with these and related offences, also played a significant role.”

There is no mention or published graphic, however, stating that from 2011 there has been a 67% decrease in the number of white rhino, from an estimated 10 621 rhino to an estimated 3529 rhino. 

According to DEFF there were an estimated 415 black rhino in 2013 and now there are an estimated 268 black rhino, a 35% decrease in numbers.  

The confirmation of the decimation of the wild rhino population, was published, for the first time in many years, and is available in the South African National Parks Annual Report 2019/2020. 

Share

 

CLEAR AS MUD – The Official Response to Questions Relating to Trophy Hunting in the Associated Private Nature Reserves, the Greater Kruger National Park

3rd November 2020

On the 6th August 2020 the EMS Foundation wrote an open letter to the Minister of the Environment, Forestry and Fisheries Barbara Creecy, the CEO of SanParks Fundisile Mketeni, the Minister of Tourism Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane and SH Makhubele the CEO of LEDET with regard to our concerns relating to the elephant hunt that took place in the Balule Nature Reserve an associated Private Nature Reserve which joins the Kruger National Park on the 5th December 2019. To date we have not received a response to this letter.

In a meeting of the National Assembly on the 16th October 2020, Ms Hannah Winkler of the Democratic Alliance, asked the Minister of the Environment, Forestry and Fisheries, Barbara Creecy the following important questions: 

What is the reasoning behind the Kruger National Park dropping fences to areas bordering the Park known as the Associated Private Nature Reserves, is this to allow free movement of protected animals or to allow for trophy hunting of these protected animals? 

What are the reasons that the decision to drop the fences to the surrounding APNRs was not brought before the Portfolio Committee on Environment Affairs, Forestry and Fisheries when it undermines the purpose of protecting wildlife in national parks?

Would Minister Creecy provide the concept document for the dropping of fences between the Kruger National Park and the Associated Private Reserves?

What are the terms of agreement on trophy hunting in these Associated Private Nature Reserves, and which authority provides oversight thereof?

Was Minister Creecy informed about the hunting of the bull elephant, who was shot eighteen times in the Kruger National Park on the 5th December, and what is the Minister’s position on this particular unethical hunt?

Minister Barbara Creecy responded to the questions as follows: 

“According to information at my disposal, the said elephant bull was hunted in a reserve within the APNR, in accordance with the relevant statutory requirements and the APNR Hunting protocol.  

Such hunts are overseen by the management structure of the reserves, together with the Provincial Conservation Authorities, they being the regulatory authorities tasked with monitoring compliance with the Protocol.

I am advised that during the particular hunt being refereed to, no tourists besides the hunting party were witness to the hunt.  I am also advised that the LEDET provided the documentation to substantiate that the permits were legally issued and that no laws were contravened.

According to information at my disposal, the hunt was legal and took place in accordance with the APNR Hunting Protocol.  The APNR off-take committee furthermore reviewed the incident and provided a ruling that the hunt was in accordance with the Protocol.  The provincial environmental authority LEDET conducted a full investigation into this matter.” 

Share

 

DECEASED, A HUMPBACK WHALE, ANOTHER VICTIM OF FISHING EQUIPMENT ENTANGLEMENT SOUTH AFRICA

OPEN LETTER

Honourable Minister Barbara Creecy

30th September 2020

WHALES CONTINUE TO SUFFER FROM HUMAN-INDUCED TRAUMA RESULTING FROM FISHING ENTANGLEMENTS IN SOUTH AFRICA

The EMS Foundation formally requested from the Honourable Minister Barbara Creecy, by means of a letter dated 07 September 2020[1], an immediate moratorium on the use of non-movable fishery devices due to multiple fatal whale entanglements. We have, unfortunately, yet to receive an answer, to our request. 

On the 23rd of September 2020 the death of a Humpback was recorded in Sardinia Bay, Nelson Mandela Bay. 

Dr Greg Hofmeyer, conducted the necroscopy on the whale. He concluded that a fishing line from a long-line fishing boat wrapped around and cut into the body of the mammal, eventually rendering the whale unable to swim or feed. Flesh grew and festered around the wound and the whale slowly died. “This animal was really badly injured and was probably floating for a number of months while being unable to feed, before eventually die of starvation.”[2]

Dr Hofmeyer also reported a further two incidents in his interview with SABC News. “On the same day that the whale came ashore we also found on the beach a White-chinned Petrel, a type of sea bird, also entangled in fishing gut, and a dolphin washed ashore with a series of parallel cuts on its back which could only have been caused by a vessel propeller.   Three animals have been killed here, directly because of human behaviour.”

Share

 

WHALE ENTANGLEMENTS AN URGENT REQUEST FOR IMMEDIATE MORATORIUM ON THE USE OF NON-MOVABLE FISHING DEVICES

OPEN LETTER

Honourable Minister Barbara Creecy

7th September 2020

The EMS Foundation hereby submits a formal request for an immediate moratorium on the use of non-movable fishing devices, which include, but are not limited to, crayfish traps.

We are extremely concerned by the documented accounts of whale fatalities in South African water which are a result of these devices.

In 2020, there have been four reported incidents of whale fatalities in the Western Cape alone. Moreover, of concern is that it is known that the majority of entanglements, which result in fatalities, are unreported.

PLEASE READ OUR FULL LETTER:

Image Credit: Overstrand Municipality

© 2020 EMS Foundation. All rights reserved

Share

 

PLUNDERED SOUTH AFRICA’S COLDBLOODED INTERNATIONAL REPTILE TRADE

INVESTIGATIVE REPORT AUGUST 2020

“Although exotic pets are technically alive, in terms of conservation they might as well be dead. Removed from nature, they no longer play any meaningful role for their species or ecosystem.”

– Rachel Love Nuwer

INTRODUCTION AND CONTEXT

Ban Animal Trading (BAT) and the EMS Foundation (EMS) have, over a number of years, been collecting information, doing fieldwork, undertaking research and analysing data on South Africa’s international and so-called ‘legal’ trade in live wild animals.

This report― ‘Plundered: South Africa’s cold-blooded international reptile trade’―is the third in The Extinction Business Series. The two previous reports examined South Africa’s lion bone trade1 and South Africa’s live wildlife trade with China. Both reports discuss in full how loopholes and ineffectual controls in the permit system, which includes CITES, are enabling international laundering and smuggling of live wildlife. The same applies to the global trade in live reptiles and amphibians, which is discussed below.

The international trade in the majority of reptiles, amphibians and arachnids is mostly unregulated, often unlawful and a growing industry in South Africa. Data on the trade in these species is unreliable and insufficient, because most countries do not keep records or compile data unless the species is listed on the CITES Appendices. Even then the data is incomplete. One reason for this is that, unlike so-called charismatic species such as lions, elephants, tigers and primates―perceived to have higher intrinsic value―reptiles, including species such as snakes, lizards, turtles, tortoises, alligators and crocodiles are, in terms of public perception, and often because of the negative stereotypes attached to them, considered less desirable creatures, lack the charismatic appeal of anthropomorphic species and consequently they are afforded less attention.

Reptiles also lack the repertoire of facial expressions and vocalizations that would alert keepers to their pain and distress. A sick, hurt, or chronically stressed reptile will suffer in silence. The suffering will often be far more prolonged than that experienced by mammals, due to reptiles’ slow metabolic rate. Blood loss and the healing of injuries are both relatively slow, as are the consequent risk of infection and further complications. Reptiles are among the most inhumanely treated animals in the pet trade. Because they often are cheap and easily replaceable, dealers, captive breeders, and retailers factor huge mortality into their operating costs.

PLEASE FIND THE FULL REPORT HERE:

THE EXTINCTION BUSINESS REPORT SERIES

Plundered: South Africa’s Cold-Blooded International Reptile Trade is Part 3 in the Ban Animal Trading an EMS Foundation, The Extinction Business Investigative Report Series. The purpose of this Series is to examine South Africa’s international wildlife trade.
South Africa’s Lion Bone Trade (2018) was Part 1 of the Series and can be found here: https://emsfoundation.org.za/wp-content/uploads/THE-EXTINCTION-BUSINESS-South-Africas-lion- bone-trade.pdf & https://bananimaltrading.org/attachments/article/209/The%20Extinction%20Business.pdf

Breaking Point: Uncovering South Africa’s Shameful Live Wildlife Trade with China (June 2020) was Part 2 of the Series and can be found here: https://emsfoundation.org.za/wp-content/uploads/BreakingPoint__FINAL_15052020_web.pdf & https://bananimaltrading.org/attachments/article/209/BreakingPoint__FINAL_15052020_web.pdf

LEGAL DISCLAIMER
The mention of any individual, company, organisation, or other entity in this report does not imply the violation of any law or international agreement, and should not be construed as such.

© 2020 Ban Animal Trading and EMS Foundation. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without permission in writing.

Share

 

EMS Foundation

PO Box 3018, Honeydew 2040
South Africa
168-304 NPO

Contact Us


info@emsfoundation.org.za

Get Involved

Interested in becoming a Supporter, Partner or Sponsor or want to find out other ways to get involved? Find out more