Posts Tagged ‘COVID_19’


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.



“Sometimes it Falls Upon a Generation to be Great” Nelson Mandela

Freedom Day South Africa 2020

Ocean View, is a suburb situated in Cape Town in South Africa. It was established in 1968 as a township for “coloured” people who had been forcibly removed from so called “white areas” such as Simon’s Town, Noordhoek, Red Hill, Glencairn by the apartheid government under the Group Areas Act.

On the 5th of March 2020 South Africa confirmed its first coronavirus case and in the weeks that followed the infections were mostly confined to suburban areas and largely involved travellers arriving from Europe, the USA and the United Kingdom.

However that has all changed with the arrival of the virus in crowded urban areas where the access to clean water for hand-washing is scarce and self-quarantine practices are the most challenging.




Legal Representatives of EMS Foundation Appeal to the South African Government

Letters have been written to the offices of Minister Barbara Creecy, Minister of the Enviornment, Forestry and Fisheries, to the offices of Minister Zwelini Mkhize and the offices of Minister Thoko Didiza.

The letters were sent to the South African government by the EMS Foundation and by their legal representatives Cullinan and Associates.

The subject matter of these correspondences relates specifically to the dangers to human life with regard to diseases and the wildlife trade.

Epidemiologists have long considered a pandemic like COVID_19 to be an inevitability and there is consensus that without massive changes to public health regulation a pandemic of zoonotic origin will happen again.

Until there is more information available about the risks of the captive breeding of lions and other big cats and the lion bone trade, both in terms of human health and to the survival of lions, a risk-averse and cautious approach requires that a moratorium is placed on the industry as outline above.




“Awubizwanga Uzizele, no one asked me to be here, I chose to be here” this is the mantra of the Overberg Whale Boxing Club which was founded by Mzi Damesi in 2007 and was formally registered as a non-profit organisation in 2011.

Image Credit: Daily Maverick

The boxing club is housed in the Zwelihle village, Zwelihle means “Beautiful Place” and it is situated between Hermanus and Sandbaai in the Western Cape of South Africa.

The boxing gym is situated, for the moment, at the Zwelihle Sports Grounds in Lusaka Street. The gym consists of three converted shipping containers set around a central concrete square.

Despite having very limited resources, the most basic facilities and equipment Mzi’s dedication and his pupil’s hard work the OWBC boxers have enjoyed phenomenal success, not only regionally but nationally too.

Image Credit The Village News



An Open Letter to the Minister of the Environment, Forestry and Fisheries Barbara Creecy

25th March 2020

Dear Honourable Minister Creecy,

Since at least as far back as the late 1990s, various NGOs have warned your department about the harmful and negative effects of breeding lions (and other big cats) in captivity. Yet, the South African government has done nothing to slow the growth of the captive lion breeding industry, nor has it given any indication of wanting to do so. This letter lays bare the facts and calls for immediate action.

First, it details the risks embedded in captive lion (and other big cat) breeding and why the industry should be terminated.

Second, we note that letter after letter to your Ministry and Department goes unheeded. It seems that industry voices – those with a vested interest in acquiring short-term benefits from exploitative breeding of lion (and other big cat) cubs for human interaction, canned hunting and the lion bone trade – provide the tune to which the policy fiddle dances.

Finally, tourism – the goose that lays the golden egg in the South African economy – is dead for the foreseeable future. Not only has South Africa’s willingness to supply Asian wildlife markets created zoonotic disease spillover risks, which have led to the need for travel bans, but the imposition of the latter means that thousands of captive lions (and other big cats) will now be left to starve to death without tourism dollars. Had the government acted in 2009 (when a plan was presented to your Department) and when there were far fewer lions (and other big cats) in captivity, this catastrophe would have been avoided.



EMS Foundation

PO Box 3018, Honeydew 2040
South Africa
168-304 NPO

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