On the 30th of August 2023, Michele Pickover, the executive director of the EMS Foundation sent an urgent communication to Minister Barbara Creecy.
On 17 September 2022, eight cheetah were exported from Namibia to India and on 17 February 2023 the first twelve cheetah were exported from South Africa to India.
On behalf of the EMS Foundation, our lawyers wrote to the Honourable Minister on 16 February 2023 and again on the 19th May 2023 to Deputy Director-General, Flora Mokgohloa, to object to the export on the grounds that:
1. contrary to the requirements of the National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act (NEM:BA) the decision to agree to the project was based on an outdated and unpublished non-detriment finding (NDF);
2. the scientific information based on which the decision was made to agree to the project was not robust;
3. there was evidence that the risks of the proposed project to the cheetah population did not justify proceeding with the project; and
4. from an animal welfare and well-being perspective, the project would result in an unjustifiable number of animals lost due to therisks of immobilisation and transport and alsodue to conditions in the destination habitat in India.
According to media reports, since then, nine of the total exported cheetah have died, the causes of death including maggot infestation from radio collars, dehydration or heatstroke while in a boma, cardiac failure and a kidney ailment. At least one cheetah has had to be sedated again and relocated as he was seen in villages outside the Kuno National Park. Fourteencheetah are now in captivity, a figure which includes cubs born to translocated cheetah.
It is deplorable that to date no response to any of our correspondence on this matter has been received from either DFFE or the Minister’s office. Please find again attached correspondence with annexures “A-C” for your urgent attention.
We look forward to an urgent and substantive reply on this highly contentious issue which is also of enormous public interest.
Image Credit: Brian Abrahamson
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