Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries

RISKS ASSOCIATED WITH WILDLIFE BREEDING AND AGRICULTURALIZATION OF WILD ANIMALS

Tuesday 10th August 2021

 A NEW STUDY FINDS THAT A MINORITY OF ANIMALS HOST THE MAJORITY OF ZOONOTIC VIRUSES

The EMS Foundation remains concerned about the devastating the negative effects of the COVID-19 global pandemic; and the growing risk of new pandemics which can be scientifically linked to the trade and consumption of wild animals.

The EMS Foundation sent a letter to Minister Thokozile Didiza and Minister Barbara Creecy with regard to new research which reaffirms ozonic spillover from the wildlife trade and consumption thereof.

Image Credit: Getty Images

©The EMS Foundation 2021. All Rights Reserved.

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REMEMBERING SKYE – THE LEADER OF THE WESTERN PRIDE OF LIONS IN THE KRUGER NATIONAL PARK

“Trophy Hunting is a form of selective elimination of the strongest members of a pride, based on whatever distinction has been accepted in the hunting fraternity.”  DAVID MABUNDA

The Umbabat Nature Reserve is a privately owned nature reserve situated adjacent to the Kruger National Park on the bank of the Nhlaralumi River in the Bushbuckridge Municipality in Mpumalanga Province, it is one of the Associated Private Nature Reserves. 

In a statement made in 2018, the management of the Umbabat Nature Reserve confirmed their participation in the practise of trophy hunting. This practise, they said, was guided by the Greater Kruger Hunting Protocol.  

The permits for trophy hunting, the Umbabat Management confirmed, are issued by, after vigorous consultation with the management of Kruger National Park and the Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency. 

Despite these assurances, in 2018, members of the Portfolio Committee on Environmental Affairs were concerned that ten years after the promulgation of the amended TOPS regulations in 2008, that the Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency were still not compliant.  The Portfolio Committee were especially concerned about non-compliance relating to the hunting of listed species in the regulations such as lions. 

On the 7th of June 2018 a large male lion was killed in the Umbabat Associated Private Nature Reserve of the Kruger National Park by an American hunter, Jared Whitworth, he allegedly paid the sum of 1 million rand.

Skye the dominant pride lion lived in the Umbabat section of the Kruger National Park, he was well-known and well-loved by international and local eco and photographic tourists alike. He disappeared on the 7th of June 2018, he was never seen again. 

The management of Umbabat and the Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Authority refused to provide any documentation about the hunt. The international and national outcry following the media reports about this hunt resulted in an enquiry held by the Portfolio Committee for Environmental Affairs in August 2018. 

Those involved in the trophy killing of the lion said that the lion, described the lion as:  “well past his prime, he was not a pride lion, the hunted lion had worn down and broken teeth, a protruding spine”. Yet, the Mpumalanaga Tourism and Parks Agency refused access to the dead lion.  A transparent process and identification would have dispelled the global outcry and subsequent investigation.

An experienced, independent ecologist, Jason Turner, examined an image of the hunted lion issued by the Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency, and confirmed that the dead lion in the image had a number of definitive and unique identification facial scars characteristics. These included nose and eye scars. Charlie Lynam, a wildlife photographer and share block owner in the Umbabat Associated Private Nature Reserve also examined and identified the lion as Skye because of nose and eye scars. 

The EMS Foundation continued to seek answers from the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment (DFFE), who confirmed that: 

  • there are no fences between the APNR and the Kruger National Park;
  • the Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency provided the permit to kill the lion; 
  • the lion was bated

DFFE did not inspect the “trophy” at the port of exit.

According to DFFE: “We had planned to conduct an inspection of the hunting client’s consignment once it was presented at the Compliance Office at Oliver Tambo International Airport for the endorsement of the CITES permit.  Unfortunately, we were not informed, despite sending a number of requests, by the Compliance Office and the consignment left South Africa without the enforcement officials inspecting the consignment.”

In a recent Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) request to DFFE from the EMS Foundation, DFFE confirmed that the body parts of the lion we believe to be Skye left South Africa via Oliver Tambo International Airport on Turkish Airways on the 24th August, destination San Francisco.   

It is likely that there was a cover-up right until the end because the permit – number 171120 – was only for the “skull and full skin” and not a “full mount”. Does it mean that bragging rights were foregone in order to avoid verification?  

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EMS FOUNDATION AND WILD LAW INSTITUTE STATEMENT ON THE SUBMISSION TO DFFE

MEDIA STATEMENT:

A BRIEF OVERVIEW OF THE SUBMISSION TO DFFE REGARDING THEIR POLICY POSITION ON THE CONSERVATION AND ECOLOGICALLY SUSTAINABLE USE OF ELEPHANT, LION, LEOPARD AND RHINOCEROS

South Africa

28TH JULY 2021

The EMS Foundation and the Wild Law Institute, both NPOs, jointly submitted written comments to Minister Barbara Creecy’s (GN 566 published in Government Gazette no. 44776 of 28 June 2021).

The EMS Foundation is a South African based social justice NGO established in November 2016. Our key purpose is to alleviate and end suffering, raise public awareness and lobby and empower, provide dignity and promote the rights and interests of vulnerable groups, particularly children, the elderly and wild animals.

The Wild Law Institute (“WildLI”) is incorporated in South Africa as a non-profit company is to promote the conservation of the natural environment, wellbeing, social cohesion, and democracy for the benefit of the general public by promoting ways of organising society that enable people to live well by safeguarding and enhancing the wellbeing of the whole Earth community. WildLI has specific expertise in relation to the design and establishment of regulatory systems, including the drafting of policies and legislation.

Both the EMS Foundation and WildLI are committed to contributing to the improvement of wildlife governance.

We are in broad support of the vision and direction of the Draft Policy, and are strongly supportive of the proposed national Policy on Biological Diversity as a means of promoting a transition towards eco-centric decision making in relation to wildlife and ecosystems generally.

Many of the comments we made relate to issues that affect all wildlife, not just the five species that are the subject of the Draft Policy. These include most of the comments in relation to: an urgent necessity for transformational change; the need for a new Eco-centric vision), Implications of a Harmonious Co-existence approach; Ecologically sustainable use; and Decision-making and conflict resolution. We requested that those comments be taken into account in formulating the proposed national Policy on Biological Diversity and any other policies that may be formulated to implement the One Health and One Welfare Approaches.

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EMS FOUNDATION AND WILD LAW INSTITUTE COMMENTS ON DFFE DRAFT POLICY POSITION 28TH JULY 2021

28TH JULY 2021

THE CONSERVATION AND ECOLOGICALLY SUSTAINABLE USE OF ELEPHANT, LION, LEOPARD AND RHINOCEROS

Please read the full submission:

Concluding Comments of the EMS Foundation and Wild Law Institute DFFE Submission:

Humanity has overstepped the planetary boundary in respect of biological diversity and consequently has entered a “danger zone” where it will be negatively affected by sudden events (e.g. pandemics) and irreversible changes. Part of the reason is that we have collectively failed to value the ecological systems (and the individuals that comprise them) on which our survival ultimately depends.

Instead of conserving that which has been entrusted to us, we have over-exploited terrestrial and marine ecosystems. The trade, sale and hunting of South Africa’s wild animals is driven by commodification, commercialisation and profit rather than by robust science, ethics or compassion. The threats wild animals are facing are powerfully linked to South Africa’s current conservation policies of consumptive use and inadequate policing and enforcement measures. A fundamental paradigm shift is required if we are to stem the rapid decline in biodiversity.

We are of the view that a new approach to human beings’ relationship with nature is not only warranted, but is absolutely critical. Current legal frameworks are not succeeding in stemming the tide of rapid biodiversity decline. What is required is a complete overhaul of the legal and administrative system, and a change in the relationship between people and Nature. It is with this paradigm shift in mind that the Draft Policy must be developed.

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GUIDELINE FOR COMMENTS ON DFFE DRAFT POLICY POSITION

Upon request, the EMS Foundation has provided useful information for interested individuals who want to get involved with the important decision making processes which concern us all.

SUBMISSION DATE: 28TH OF JULY 2021

ACTION 1

PLEASE CONSIDER COMMENTING ON DR SOUTH AFRICA USING THIS LINK: 

COMMENT: Conservation Policy (captive breeding) | Dear South Africa

ACTION 2

USING THIS EASY GUIDELINE, WHICH EXPLAINS HOW TO SEND YOUR COMMENTS ON: THE DRAFT POLICY POSITION FOR ELEPHANT, LION, LEOPARD, AND RHINOCEROS:

ADDRESS THE EMAIL TO: 

The Director-General: Department of Forestry, Fishery and the Environment

Private Bag X447

PRETORIA

Attention: Dr Kiruben Naicker 

knaicker@environment.gov.za

  • DATE : ON OR BEFORE 28TH JULY 2021
  • HEADING : MY COMMENT ON THE DRAFT POLICY POSITION FOR ELEPHANT, LION, LEOPARD, AND RHINOCEROS
  • Introduce yourself as a stakeholder, specifying your interest as, for example, a conservationist, or environmentalist, or a tourist, photographer, or a journalist, blogger, private individual with a passion for Africa / wildlife / the environment / Nature / South Africa. 
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EMS Foundation

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

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info@emsfoundation.org.za

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