Posts Tagged ‘CONSERVATION’

DISTRACTIONS ASIDE, CONSERVATION NEEDS RADICAL CHANGE

WRITTEN BY: Jared Kukura

Dare to criticize the opinions of those promoting the exploitation of wildlife for economic benefit, and you will likely find yourself engulfed in frivolous drama that takes away from the real issues facing conservation. Craig Packer, and many others, know this all too well.

Packer was once Tanzania’s leading lion conservationist with decades of research experience. That is until he was banned from the country for his outspoken criticism of the trophy hunting industry. His criticism was well supported though, his studies showed that trophy hunting was the leading cause of declining lion numbers in his areas of study.

Subsequent research confirmed Packer’s studies and noted lion numbers declined most in areas with short-term hunting leases. The short-term leases were both the most unsustainable and the most profitable for the government (surprise, surprise). Additional research also suggested Tanzania’s policies failed to adequately protect habitat and reduce illegal harvest of other species, leading to continual declines in wildlife numbers.

But, conveniently for Tanzania, trophy hunting is largely portrayed in a positive light when it comes to conserving the country’s wildlife. Trophy hunting, proponents state, protects more land than any other industry and creates economic benefits for rural communities. However, the difference in perspective has less to do with the promotion of trophy hunting’s positives and more to do with the silencing of trophy hunting’s negatives.

Criticism of the trophy hunting industry and Packer’s dismissal, while dramatic, failed to spur changes in Tanzania’s conservation policies. This happens all too often in conservation but it cannot happen now with the wildlife trade considering the implications of the COVID_19 pandemic. The debate over whether we should ban the wildlife trade can be dramatic. But we must ensure the debate goes not detract us from acting and transforming conservation to benefit humans and wildlife.

We are in the midst of a global pandemic likely caused by a virus jumping from wildlife to humans. To date, COVID-19 has killed more than 240,000 people and has ramifications beyond an increasing death toll. Global poverty is expected to rise for the first time in decades because of mandated shutdowns aimed at stopping the spread of the virus.

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The Long Tentacles of Safari Club International (SCI) Undermining Conservation Efforts in Africa

28th November 2019

The SCI exists to ‘protect the freedom to hunt’ and promote ‘wildlife conservation worldwide’. Since 2000, the organisation has spent $140 million on achieving its first objective through ‘policy advocacy, litigation and education for federal and state legislators to ensure hunting is protected for future generations.’ A little-known fact is that it also has a ‘donate’ tab on its website. This is interesting because the arguments made in favour of hunting in southern Africa typically entail an attack on NGOs that raise money for ‘animal rights’ as mere emotion-exploiting agents. If you happen to consider that animals are individuals with their own interests and advocate for an integrative rather than aggregative approach to conservation, you are likely to be dismissed as an emotional ‘animal rightist’ (God forbid!) and somehow ‘unscientific’. This is partly a function of the effective propaganda employed by the likes of the SCI, among the world’s most powerful lobby groups. 

It is indeed fascinating that hunting lobbying groups accuse ‘western’ NGOs of unduly influencing conservation policies in African countries. But the very western SCI Foundation (SCIF) – that carries out the second arm of the SCI’s mission – has long had its tentacles in African conservation policy formation. A recent article, for instance, articulates the SCIF’s interest in the 2019 Botswana elections. A win for President Masisi was good news for the SCI, as he controversially reinstated trophy hunting in what had become a veritable wildlife haven. Anti-hunting sentiment has successfully been brandished as ‘Western’ and the SCI has managed to paint itself as a messiah for Africa’s rural communities, as if trophy hunting is somehow African. The subversion of concepts to advance a killing cause is astounding in itself, but the depth of the SCIF’s influence goes far beyond writing articles: ‘SCI and SCIF have met with President Masisi… to express our support for Botswana in these [hunting reintroduction] efforts.’ 

They have had to wait for some time – 5 years – but ultimately appear to have been successful. But it turns out that this is hardly a new engagement in Botswana. A recent book notes that ‘until 2007, SCI’s primary support to conservation in Botswana to date had been the sponsorship of a 2002 Southern African Wildlife Consultative Forum (AWCF) chaired by the director of Botswana’s Department of Wildlife and National Parks, Joseph Matlhare. SCI has generated some notoriety in international conservation circles for lobbying against Botswana’s ban on lion hunting’ (emphasis added). No wonder the SCI has made a fuss about ‘animal rightists’ meeting with CITES delegates – it doesn’t like other voices stepping on its turf. 

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WAPFSA RESPONDS TO THE THE HIGH LEVEL ADVISORY COMMITTEE APPOINTED BY DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENT, FORESTRY AND FISHERIES

WILDLIFE ANIMAL PROTECTION FORUM South Africa

25TH NOVEMBER 2019

IN A LETTER ADDRESSED TO:

THE DIRECTOR GENERAL MS NOSIPHO NGCABA AND MINISTER BARBAR CREECY

RE: ADVISORY COMMITTEE TO REVIEW POLICIES, LEGISLATION AND PRACTICES ON MATTERS RELATED TO THE MANAGEMENT, BREEDING, HUNTING, TRADE AND HANDLING OF ELEPHANT, LION, LEOPARD AND RHINOCEROS AND RELATED MATTERS

A. BACKGROUND

We, the Wildlife Animal Protection Forum of South Africa (“WAPFSA”), refer to:

1. Government Gazette 42761 (Notice No. 1317) 1 dated 10 October 2019 (the “Committee Gazette”) relating Advisory Committee to Review Policies, Legislation and Practices on matters related to the management, breeding, hunting, trade and handling of elephant, lion, leopard and rhinoceros (the “Committee”) [Note we have used High Level Panel and Committee interchangeably herein. It is unclear if they are the same];

2. Media Release2 on the appointment of the Committee; and

3. Government Gazette No 42247, (Notice No 243)3 dated 25 February 2019 relating to the Appointment of a High-Level Panel of Experts for the review of policies, legislation and practises on matters related to the management, breeding, hunting, trade and handling of elephant, lion, leopard and rhinoceros.

WAPFSA is a coalition of twenty-four South African NGOs. A list of our members in support of this Letter are included at the end hereto.

 1 http://www.gpwonline.co.za/Gazettes/Gazettes/42761_10-10_EnvirAff.pdf

2 https://www.environment.gov.za/mediarelease/creecyaapointsadvisorycommittee_managementbreedinghuntingtradehandling_elephantlionleopardrhinoceros ling_elephantlionleopardrhinoceros 

3 https://www.environment.gov.za/sites/default/files/gazett ed_notices/nema107of1998_reviewofpolicies_gn42247.pdf

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THE FUTURE OF THE SANWILD WILDLIFE SANCTUARY

MEDIA STATEMENT MONDAY 25TH NOVEMBER 2019

FROM ANIMAL CONSERVATION AND PROTECTION ORGANISTIONS

Yesterday (24 November 2019), the SanWild Wildlife Sanctuary Board of Trustees of the released a media statement indicating that Mr Andre Grobler – co-founder and manager of the Sanctuary – had been voted off the Board on 22 November 2019. Mr Grobler has been accused of acting in a clandestine manner and violating the provisions of the Trust Deed. Among other things, he has been accused of attempting to sell eight sanctuary lions to Mr Jan Steinman, who has been charged with animal cruelty and allegedly is involved in canned hunting. 

A wildlife sanctuary is an area of land managed in order to conserve and protect wildlife. A place of refuge and safety where suitable living conditions are offered to the wildlife until their natural deaths. Genuine sanctuaries do not breed or trade in wildlife, nor do they offer interactions with human visitors. 

For 20 years the SanWild Wildlife Sanctuary, situated in Gravelotte in Limpopo, has received public donations in its capacity as a public benefit organisation in order to sustain itself. Under Mr Grobler’s tenure, the Sanctuary has been grossly mismanaged, as clearly indicated by the media statement referred to above. Public money has been misappropriated and the animals treated as mere commodities, the very opposite of a sanctuary.

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