THE EMS FOUNDATION PROBES THE HISTORIC BACKGROUND TO THE DEAL FOR DEEP-WATER SEISMIC OIL AND GAS SURVEYANCE
South Africa is the 12th worst emitter of greenhouse gases in the world. A large South Africa delegation attended the Climate Change COP26 Conference held between the 31st October and 12th November 2021in Glasgow in the United Kingdom. South Africa’s substantial agenda was to access international finance for investments that are needed in order for the country to transition from its reliance on fossil fuels.
Scientists have proved that in order to keep global warming below 1.5C, to mitigate the current global climate crisis, we have to leave the vast majority of fossil fuels untouched.
In steep contradiction to the mandate of the legally binding international treaty on climate change, the Paris Agreement, which was adopted by 196 Parties at COP21 on the 12th December 2015, South Africa has granted permission to Royal Dutch Shell to conduct deep-water seismic oil and gas surveyance of two massive offshore areas which stretch all the way from the Eastern Cape to the Mozambique maritime border.
Climate change activists have recently won a big legal victory against oil giant Shell, who has a result been forced to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 45% by 2030 based on 2019 levels. Friends of the Earth International stated: “Our hope is that this verdict will trigger a wave of climate litigation against big polluters, to force them to stop extracting and burning fossil fuels.”
The administrators of South African Presidential Climate Commission and the authors of the Climate Change Bill have not, according to our research, objected to the deep-water seismic oil surveyance of two massive offshore areas which stretch all the way from the Eastern Cape to the Mozambique maritime border.
Why did the South African government choose to ignore a coalition of eight civil society groups who asked that ties be severed with Myanmar because of their continued human rights abuses? This plea, is in light of the controversial deal with the Silver Wave Energy Company, which is linked to the Myanmar regime. A deal controversially concluded during the Zuma regime.
Diplomatic information published on WikiLeaks shows that the Silver Wave Energy Company, though registered in Singapore, has close ties to the Burmese regime.
Questions were raised in the media in 2011 about this aforementioned deal when it was uncovered that Burma’s ambassador to South Africa provided top officials with gifts, these officials apparently included Jacob Zuma and Kgalema Motlanthe.
Jacob Zuma, South Africa’s former President, has been charged with corruption linked to a 1990’s arms deal where he is accused of accepting 783 illegal payments.
State Capture commission of inquiry highlighted the abuse of political power in South Africa. We have been shown that you do not have to be a politician to hold political power you can influence political developments by buying politicians.
Official information obtained by the EMS Foundation from the South African Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment via the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) pertaining to leopard exports from one South African port of exit revealed that:
20 live leopards were exported from the Free State, North West, Gauteng and Limpopo provinces.
In 2016− eight leopards to Canada, Chile, China, Côte d’Ivoire and the Philippines
In 2018−six leopards from the Free State to China.
In 2019−six leopards to China and Vietnam.
From 2016 to May 2021, at least 260 export, import and re-export permits were issued by South African authorities for trophy hunted leopards. These included permits for the export and re-export of 380 leopard body part (including full bodies, skulls, skins and bones) to 205 hunters/individuals as follows:
109 “full mounts”/bodies (37 exports and 72 re-exports);
171 skulls (59 exports and 112 re-exports)
78 skins (33 exports and 45 re-exports)
8 rug-mounts (4 exports and 4 re-exports)
14 ‘floating’ bones (8 exports and 6 re-exports)
An analysis of the permit data from 2016 to May 2021 from this single South African port of exit, also shows that:
The United States of America was the biggest importer of leopard trophies from and through South Africa, accounting for 231 trophy parts−over 60% of the exports and re-exports from South Africa.
Countries South Africa imported leopard body parts from−largely for presumed re-export include: Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
South Africa is a major gateway in the trade in leopard body parts by the trophy hunting industry.
According to LEDET, 4 male leopards were hunted in Limpopo in 2020:
Two in the Vhembe District (Maswiri Farms and Oatland 251MS)
One in the Mopani District (Portion 18 & 19 of the farm Harmony 140 KT)
One in the Capricorn District (Portion of farm Rondebosch 157 MR and Doornfontein 155 MR)
5. Below is a breakdown of the exports and re-exports from South African for this period.
 The exports from South Africa also included 83 vials of leopard blood from Mpumalanga to Florida in the USA in 2019
This week Safari Club International brought its fight against trophy import ban proposals from around the world in to Kasane in Botswana where the nineteenth anniversary of SCI’s sponsored Southern African Wildlife Consultative Forum (AWFC) meeting, which started in Botswana in 2002, is taking place.
According to their published marketing information, the annual African Wildlife Consultative Forum is Safari Club International’s premier activity in Africa. These annual events bring together senior government officials and the professional hunting leadership, amongst other, to discuss the sustainable use of wildlife across Africa. According to SCI, a pro trophy hunting, pro gun lobbying organisation based in the United States of America, the AWCF provides African representatives with a platform to unite in an effort to combat and end the intervention of African wildlife conservation programs by misinformed Western activists and politicians.
Laird Hamberlin, the SCI CEO, has said in the aforementioned September 10th publication, that Safari Club International is the only organisation with the right resources and relationships with established leaders on the ground from Botswana, Cameroon, DRC, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe that could successfully beat the trophy hunting bans. “This year African conservation has faced numerous attacks by way of proliferation of trophy import ban proposals.”
He is referring to the Jane Goodall Act which is intended to ban elephant trophy imports to Canada. A proposed ban on all CITES listed animals has been introduced to Switzerland’s National Council. In the United Kingdom, DEFRA is considering the ban on all or selected trophies. The Cecil Act in the USA will ban elephant and lion trophy imports from Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe and will require that all species proposed for listing the US Endangered Species Act be treated as if they are already listed. It will also require public notice and comment for all trophy imports of listed species, making importation more difficult. State trophy import and possession bans have also been considered or have been introduced in Connecticut, Illinois and California.
TROPHY HUNTING IS NOT UBUNTU
Two years ago, on the 28th of November 2019, the EMS Foundation published an article called The Long Tentacles of Safari Club International Undermining Conservation Efforts in Africa. The article was published during the 2019 AWCF meeting which took place in Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe, last year the event had to be held virtually from Botswana, due to the global COVID_19 pandemic and this year the event returned to Kasane in Botswana, it is a hybrid event, supposedly limited to fifty persons attending in person.
In the research article called Neo-Colonialism and Greed: Africans’ Views on Trophy Hunting in Social Media Dr Muchazondida Mkono examines the views of Africans on trophy hunting. Dr Mkono says that the cultural concept of Ubuntu offers insight into an African concept of sustainability and this can inform the Western sustainability model and make it relevant to Africa. In the Ubuntu philosophy, the wellbeing of all humanity and of all nature takes precedence, before the rights of the individual trophy hunter.
Neo-colonialism is the use of economic or political pressures to control or influence other countries especially former dependencies. It is the practise of using economic imperialism and conditional aid to influence a developing country instead of the previous colonial methods of direct military control or indirect political control.
Trophy hunting inflicts and perpetuates notions of abuse, subjugation and control, and importantly, research has shown that Africans find trophy hunting objectionable because of its complex historical and postcolonial associations – the dominant pattern was resentment towards what was viewed as the neo-colonial character of trophy hunting, in the way it privileges Western elites in accessing Africa’s wildlife resources.
Research shows that trophy hunting is not an effective tool for conservation in Africa – the trophy hunting industry is rife with mismanagement and corruption, harmful to animal populations, is grounded in in colonial systems that have marginalized, and continue to marginalize local African populations. This comprehensive research combines the knowledge of anthropology, ecology, economics, ethology, history, indigenous studies, literature studies and political science.
It is so utterly disappointing that the new democratic South African government continues to support the events organised by Safari Club International whose questionable strategy in Africa plan has been highlighted by Jared Kukura.
“For instance the strategic plan raises concerns about the indigenization of Zimbabwe’s hunting industry, stating that if not properly implanted indigenization will eliminate the old-line hunting families and the traditional knowledge necessary to assure a quality hunting experience by overseas spot hunters and management concessions.”
The content of the article, titled Safari Club International’s Plan to Colonize Africa’s Hunting Grounds includes further reference to SCI’s strategy in Africa which “casts blame on indigenous Africans for decreasing financial viability of trophy hunting in Tanzania, adding one of the biggest problems are smaller indigenous companies who have inside connections to people in town.”
African countries still have wildlife and biodiversity – albeit dwindling – and foreign countries continue to scramble for these. We have to assume that the recolonisation of Africa is being assisted by African rulers. This exploitation process continues in Kasane at present – white trophy hunters are meeting with African governments to try to control the future of Africa’s wildlife. African leaders are seemingly satisfied to allow, for a price, the white hunters desire to kill and adorn their walls with trophy’s signifying their conquest of wild Africa.
Elephant are listed as ‘protected’ in terms of the TOPS Regulations. They are accordingly “indigenous species of high conservation value or national importance that require protection.”
Elephant populations in South Africa are listed on Appendix II of CITES for the purposes of trade in trophies for non-commercial purposes only.
There is no current final published NDF for elephant. The Summary Report: Non-detriment findings made by the Scientific Authority published on 5 April 2019 indicates that a draft NDF dated December 2015 was to be submitted to the Minister for her to publish for public input.
However, it also notes that there is a “growing market for the trophy hunting of large-tusked bulls” which “could decrease the average tusk size of elephants within South Africa and potentially result in a loss of genetic diversity. Over exploitation of older bulls may socially disrupt elephant populations. Furthermore, the hunting of females has behavioural consequences not only for the individual’s offspring but for the entire family unit. It is therefore recommended that guidelines for the trophy hunting of elephants be developed.”
The NDF also found that the then current offtake of bulls as DCA from the Greater Mapungubwe Transfrontier Conservation Area (GMTFCA) elephant population exceeded the 10 trophy bulls that could be harvested sustainably per annum for the entire population (inclusive of Botswana and Zimbabwe). It therefore recommended that DCA or hunting trophy removals from this population in South Africa be reduced to no more than 5 bulls per annum, while the offtake from the entire GMTFCA elephant population must be addressed.
The NDF noted that the Scientific Authority was aware at that point of increased poaching of elephant and the illegal trade in ivory in other parts of Africa and indicated that it would review the NDF assessment “should the number of poaching incidents in South Africa increase.”
There has in fact been a well-documented, marked increase of elephant poaching in South Africa. In 2012 two elephants were killed for their ivory in South Africa’s flagship Kruger National Park. In 2015 twenty- four elephants were killed for their ivory. In 2016 forty-six elephants were killed for their ivory. In 2017 sixty-seven elephants were killed for their ivory. In 2018 seventy-one Elephants were killed for their ivory, and according to Minister Creecy, thirty-one elephants were killed in the Kruger National Park in 2019. These figures demonstrate the intentional targeting by organised criminal syndicates of elephants in eastern South Africa, specifically in the region bordering Mozambique.
The NDF argues “that local and international trade in elephant poses a low and non-detrimental risk for the species in South Africa. The species is well managed in South Africa and the Scientific Authority does not have any current concerns relating to the export of elephants in accordance with Article IV of CITES.”
Black rhinos are included in Appendix I of CITES. In terms of Article Ill of CITES, an export permit shall only be granted for a specimen of an Appendix I species (e.g. in the case of a hunting trophy) when a Scientific Authority of the State of export has advised that such export will not be detrimental to the survival of that species. In accordance with Article III and the CITES Regulations, a Draft NDF for black rhino was published for comment in 2019 (“Draft Rhino NDF”).
In terms of threats to the black rhino population and the impacts of trophy hunting on the survival of the species, the Draft Rhino NDF notes that:
Ongoing loss of rhino to poaching for their horn is currently the most immediate threat to South Africa’s black rhino population.
Permanent removal of black rhino from the national population through trophy hunting is predominantly economically motivated…
The current overall species conservation benefit associated with trophy hunting of black rhinoceros is low.
Trophy hunting of black rhino should not be contemplated
The African Black Rhino remains Critically Endangered according to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, and there is no room for complacency. There is an urgent need for them to be protected not killed. It is counter intuitive therefore, to suggest a hunting quota for black rhino in South Africa especially while private rhino owners and the government are seeking ways to lobby for funds locally and abroad in order to protect the last remaining South African black rhino.