INTRODUCTION, BACKGROUND AND CONTEXT
This report, Our Kin Discarded: South Africa’s Inhumane, Unsustainable and Discreditable Trade in (nonhuman) Primates focuses on South Africa’s so-called legal trade in (nonhuman) primates and their body parts. It is the fourth instalment of the EMS Foundation (“EMS”) and Ban Animal Trading (“BAT”) Extinction Business series.
EMS and BAT oppose the trade in live (nonhuman) primates and their killing for trophy hunting.
Despite South Africa’s indigenous primates being listed on the 2016 Regional Red List status as “Least Concern” our research and analysis of data provided by the national and provincial departments paints a very different picture.
South Africa’s indigenous (nonhuman) primates should live in large communities of up to 100 individuals. Social life defines them. They are intelligent and interactive beings with sophisticated social knowledge and skills to navigate their complex hierarchies and networks of cooperative and competitive social relationships, both with relatives and non-relatives and also inter troop. Baboons for example, “live in multimale, multifemale groups that typically include eight or nine matrilineal families, a linear dominance hierarchy of males that changes often, and a linear hierarchy of females and their offspring that can be stable for generations. Daily life in a baboon group includes small-scale alliances that may involve only three individuals and occasional large-scale, familial battles that involve all the members of three or four matrilines. Males and females can form short-term bonds that lead to reproduction, or longer-term friendships that lead to cooperative child rearing.”
All (nonhuman) primates experience emotions such as joy, fear, love, despair, and grief. They also play an essential role in ecosystems and biodiversity, contributing to regeneration and ecosystem health and providing important functions and benefits such as seed dispersal, pollination, regeneration and predator-prey relationships. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, 60% of (nonhuman) primate species are threatened with extinction and about 75% have declining populations due to human activities. Globally, habitat loss and trade are considered the main threats to primate conservation.
There is a need to conserve (nonhuman) primate populations that are living in the wild because of land transformation and persecution by humans and the resultant fragmentation of populations and decline in numbers. (Nonhuman) primates are discriminated against, hunted for pleasure, persecuted, used in biomedical research, eaten, their body parts used in traditional medicine and they are traded for zoo and wildlife collections and as pets. The infant (nonhuman) primates will likely be taken to be sold as ‘pets’ or for entertainment purposes. In this context, they are also slow breeders, further exacerbating their decline. The existential crisis (nonhuman) primates find themselves in, whether they are taken from the wild or bred in captivity, is closely tied to the insatiable and ever-proliferating demand to own and kill rare and exotic wild animals. Across the entire ‘live trade value chain’ (nonhuman) primates are bred and kept in conditions which seriously compromise their welfare and poses significant risks to species conservation, animal and human health, and environmental integrity.
The main findings of this report (see pages six to eight) show that South Africa’s laws are failing to protect (nonhuman) primates and are not preventing the negative consequences of South Africa’s so-called legal trade in (nonhuman) primates and their body parts.
A moratorium on the trade, hunting and killing of South Africa’s indigenous (nonhuman) primates and the breeding, trading and keeping of exotic (nonhuman) primates as pets this trade needs to be put in place immediately so that the poorly enforced, indefensible and shameful South African wildlife trade can be re-evaluated.
READ THE FULL REPORT:
EXTINCTION BUSINESS SERIES OF PUBLISHED INVESTIGATIONS:
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.
COVER PHOTOGRAPH CREDIT: South Africans for the Abolition of Vivisection
©FEBRUARY 2023 The EMS Foundation and Ban Animal Trading. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without permission in writing.
Riverside Road, Steyn City
Cedar Gate, East Wing
Interested in becoming a Supporter, Partner or Sponsor or want to find out other ways to get involved?