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A HOLISTIC FRAMEWORK TO RESOLVE HUMAN AND WILDLIFE ISSUES IN THE CAPTIVE BIG CAT SECTOR

LETTER TO MINSTER BARBARA CREECY, DEPARTMENT FORESTRY, FISHERIES AND THE ENVIRONMENT, 19th JULY 2021

The EMS Foundation commends the Honourable Minister for her commitment to ending inhumane and irresponsible practices in the wildlife industry which greatly harm the reputation of South Africa and to ending the captive lion industry so that South Africa does not captive breed lions, keep lions in captivity, or use captive lions or their derivatives commercially.

Furthermore, the EMS Foundation applauds the Honourable Minister for meeting with animal welfare and animal protection advocacy groups on the 17th June 2021 and the resulting discussion.

The EMS Foundation notes the call for comments on the draft policy position on the conservation and ecologically sustainable use of elephant, lion, leopard and rhinoceros, gazetted on 28th June 2021.

The EMS Foundation notes with concern violations of workers’ rights and job security issues in the captive wildlife sector.

The EMS Foundation notes that recent research shows the highly racialised and discriminatory practices in the wildlife industry (1) as well as the exploitation of poor black workers who often have to deal with wild animals with very little safety and minimal pay. (2)

There are dangers to marginalised and exploited workers involved in the industry and in the slaughter for meat or bones.(3)  Generally the wildlife industry violates the rights of farm workers who are disproportionally exposed to risks while living and working with dangerous animals like lions. In addition, generally these workers do not receive employment benefits, such as medical insurance nor do they have the means to protect themselves from harm, disability or death.(4)

READ THE FULL LETTER:

References:

(1) Nomalanga Mkhize ‘Game farm conversions and the land question: Unpacking present contradictions and historical continuities in farm dwellers’ tenure insecurity in Cradock’ (2014) 32 Journal of Contemporary African Society 207-219; Femke Brandt and Marja Spierenburg ‘Game fences in the Karoo: Reconfiguring spatial and social relations’ (2014) Journal of Contemporary African Society 1- 18.

(2) Femke Brandt ‘Trophy hunting in South Africa: Risky business for whom’ Daily Maverick (17 Nov 2015) available at http://www.dailymaverick.co.za/opinionista/2015-11-17-trophy-hunting-in-south-africa-risky-business-for- whom/?utm_source=Daily+Maverick+Mailer#.VqCRDLZ97IV.


(3) Peet Van Der Merwe et al., “The Economic Significance of Lion Breeding Operations in the South African Wildlife Industry,” International Journal of Biodiversity and Conservation 9, no. 11 (2017): 314–22, https://doi.org/10.5897/IJBC2017.1103.

(4) Femke Brandt Trophy Hunting in South Africa: Risky Business for Whom? DAILY MAVERICK (17 Nov 2015)

IMAGE CREDIT: Richard Smith / Alamy Stock Photo

©The EMS Foundation 2021. All Rights Reserved.

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TRADING IN MISERY SOUTH AFRICA’S RECENT LION EXPORTS

STATEMENT 15TH JULY 2021

The EMS Foundation has obtained official information from the South African Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment via the Promotion of Access to Information Act also known as PAIA about lion exports from the Oliver Tambo International’s Airport situated in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The detailed and specific information contained in this document illustrates the magnitude of this South African industry over a very specific time frame.

Please read the full document:

SOUTH AFRICAN TROPHY HUNTED WILD AND CAPTIVE LIONS

Each year hundreds of thousands of wild animals are killed by trophy hunters.

The true meaning of the word trophy is a memorial of a victory in war, consisting of spoils taken from the enemy as a token of victory and power.

Trophy hunters kill wild animals for their body parts, including heads, skins, claws and in some instances the whole animal.

In South Africa international trophy hunters hunt wild and captive bred lion.

Between August 2018 and the 7th of April 2021, 80 wild lion body part shipments were exported from South Africa.

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SOUTH AFRICAN LION BREEDERS EXPORT LION CUB PETTING INDUSTRY TO IRAQ

COPY OF OPEN LETTER ADDRESSED TO MINISTER BARBARA CREECY

TUESDAY 6TH JULY 2021

On the 2nd of May 2021 Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment, Barbara Creecy, released the report from the High Level Panel (HLP) of experts, which was appointed in 2019, to review policies, regulatory measures, practices and policy positions that relate to the hunting, trade, captive keeping, management and handling of elephant, lion, leopard and rhinoceros in South Africa.

The decision to appoint a panel of experts was taken as a result of the Portfolio Committee on Environmental Affairs Colloquium that was held in Parliament in August 2018 on Captive Lion Breeding. Parliament adopted the findings of Portfolio Committee Report whose overall view was that the captive lion breeding industry did not contribute to conservation and was doing damage to South Africa’s conservation and tourism reputation.

The High Level Panel of Experts was asked to review the lion breeding industry, the rhino horn trade, rhino poaching, the elephant ivory trade, trophy hunting, the trade in leopard skins for religious and traditional use.

The HLP submitted a 600-page report to Minister Creecy and to the Cabinet in December 2020. This report was duly accepted and approved for release and implementation.

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CONFIRMATION OF THE SCALE OF THE CAPTIVE WILDLIFE INDUSTRY IN SOUTH AFRICA

PUBLIC STATEMENT

World Environment Day 5th June 2021

The EMS Foundation will be making a series of statements, the contents of which are in the public’s best interest. We are focusing our attention on the conservation of South Africa’s wildlife, especially with regard to the essence of the decision making process following the release of the Report by the High-Level Panel of Advisors to the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment.

THE IMPLEMENTATION PROCESS OF THE RECOMMENDATIONS MADE BY THE HIGH LEVEL PANEL OF ADVISORS TO DFFE


How are laws and policies about wildlife, the biodiversity and the natural environment made in the South African government?


Making new laws and policies involves a number of stages during which times key issues are debated and negotiated before being finalised as official government policy or being passed as a new law. This process can take years from the proposal stage until it’s impactful. 


A government policy outlines what DFFE hopes to achieve and the methods and principles it will use to implement them. A policy document states the goals and laws required to achieve these goals. 

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TROPHY HUNTING OF LEOPARDS IN SOUTH AFRICA

PUBLIC STATEMENT

Endangered Species Day 21st May 2021

The EMS Foundation will be making a series of statements, the content of which is in the public’s interest. We are focusing our attention on the conservation of South Africa’s wildlife, especially with regard to the essence of the decision making processes.

LEOPARDS: SACRIFICED ON SOUTH AFRICA’S BLOODY TROPHY HUNTING ALTAR

Exquisitely beautiful and elusive, leopards unsurprisingly form part of South Africa’s so-called iconic ‘Big Five’, yet their current conservation status is a population in persistent decline[1] and, alarmingly, they are extinct in 67% of South Africa[2].  

According to peer-reviewed research papers human-mediated leopard mortality is widespread, especially amongst private agricultural and wildlife ranches in South Africa. Climate change, trophy hunting, illegal hunting, killing for skins,’ legal destruction’, revenge killings, by-catch from snares for the bush meat trade and lack of adequate protection from government, are pushing leopards in South Africa to the brink of extinction.  Moreover, unreported and illegal killing of wildlife is widespread across southern Africa and therefore also extremely pertinent. 

Nonetheless, it appears that the Department of Fisheries, Forestry and Environment (DFFE) is attempting to appease the powerful hunting lobby by steamrolling through a trade and trophy hunting agenda of leopards without adequate scientific evidence. 

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