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Excerpt from the EMS Foundation Submission:

Decision to determine a quota for leopard hunting made in the absence of an NDF

In terms of Article III of CITES and the CITES Regulations, export of species listed in Appendix I or II may only take place once the Scientific Authority (SANBI) has made an NDF and advised the Management Authority accordingly.58 In 2015, the Draft NDF was published which made a positive NDF finding, provided certain conditions were met, namely:

  • Guidelines for the allocation of leopard trophy quotas must be developed and provided to all provinces by the end of January 2015 (the requirement for such guidelines was again reiterated at the Leopard Workshop).
  • A conditional leopard trophy quota allocation must be issued for 2015, whereby provinces must indicate compliance with the guidelines recommended above. Provinces showing non-compliance with these guidelines must not be allocated a quota for 2016.
  • National norms and standards for the management and monitoring of leopard trophy hunting and putative DCAs in South Africa must be developed in terms of section 9 of NEMBA and published by the end of 2016.
  • The norms and standards recommended above must be fully implemented by the end of 2019.Without the satisfaction of the above conditions, the Scientific Authority would not have found that the trade in leopard is non-detrimental to the survival of the species and would not have issued a Draft NDF. It is critical that the management measures proposed, including guidelines and norms and standards in relation to leopard trophy hunting are in place before there is any consideration of whether a quota may be determined. The Draft NDF was never finalized. At the Leopard Workshop, the DFFE indicated that at the time of the publishing of the Draft NDF, there was no reliable estimate for the South African leopard population, and thus this required this NDF to be revised because it is outdated. Plans to revise the Draft NDF are allegedly underway.58 Regulation 4, CITES Regulations.

In the circumstances, a key informant of whether or not to determine a quota, namely a revised NDF, has not been finally gazetted or circulated for public comment. The purpose of an NDF is to determine whether trade in an Appendix I or II species (including leopard) will be detrimental to the survival of the species. Its contents are thus critical to rational decision-making in relation to the number (if any) of leopard that may be trophy hunted.

We therefore submit that in the absence of a finalized NDF which has been circulated to stakeholders for comment, there is no rational basis for determining the Draft Quota. The NDF for leopard must be finalized before any determination of quotas can be made.

We further submit that the management measures contemplated by the conditions of the Draft NDF, namely norms and standards for the management and monitoring of trophy hunting (the draft Hunting Norms and Standards having been published for comment in 2017) and guidelines for the allocation of leopard trophy quotas are critical to the determination and implementation of any trophy hunting quota. At the Leopard Workshop, it was recorded in DFFE’s presentation that guidelines for the allocation of leopard hunting quotas are to be developed. DFFE evidently construes the development of guidelines as an important mechanism for the determination of a trophy hunting quota. To the extent that the Draft Quota was determined before guidelines and the Hunting Norms and Standards have been circulated for public comment and finalized, we submit that the Draft Quota is irrational, and has been determined without taking relevant considerations into account.