Announcement of controversial trophy hunting quotas for black rhino and leopard



The Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment (DFFE) has announced South Africa’s trophy hunting quotas this year for black rhino, leopard and elephant.

DFFE Minister Barbara Creecy said this year’s quotas were a ‘carry-over’ from last year’s cash allocations.

Leopards

Hunters can hunt 10 leopards, the department said, adding that this number was “informed by robust data generated by a sophisticated national leopard monitoring program”.

The leopard can only be hunted where populations are stable or increasing, and only males seven years of age or older can be hunted.

This, the DFFE said, reduced the risk of “over-harvesting”.

Leopard, or panthera parduswere listed as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), populations are thought to be declining.

Trophy hunting norms and standards for leopards were revised last year, due to the plethora of challenges facing populations. These include habitat loss and fragmentation, poorly managed trophy hunting, illegal trade in leopard skins and trapping.

It has been suggested by scientific authorities to introduce a zero hunting quota for three hunting seasons in order to collect more reliable statistics on leopard populations in South Africa.

READ ALSO: Norms and standards governing leopard trophy hunting under discussion

black rhinos

The critically endangered black rhinoceros (Dicoeros bicornis) can also be hunted.

The DFFE has set this year’s trophy hunting quota at 10. Only adult males can be hunted, and only on conservation management grounds.

Black rhino hunting comes with a “strict set of criteria to ensure that demographic and/or genetic conservation is enhanced”. This is stipulated in the Black Rhinoceros Biodiversity Management Plan.

Populations of all three black rhino subspecies are currently believed to be increasing, the DFFE said.

This is due to the significant progress made in more than 20 years of persistent conservation efforts.

According to IUCN, there are a total of 3,142 mature individuals in various parts of Africa. Black rhinos are found in South Africa, Angola, Kenya, Mozambique, Namibia, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe.

ALSO READ: Black rhino population on the slow road to recovery

Elephants

One hundred and fifty elephants will be hunted for trophy purposes in 2022, which the DFFE says represents “only a very small part of the overall population”.

This number represents less than 0.3% of the African elephant (Loxodonta africana) total population of the country.

Elephants are endangered in South Africa according to the IUCN Red List, with population trends descending.

The department’s data, however, shows “an upward trend” in the number of national elephant herds, with the quota “well within sustainable limits”.

All boxes checked, says DFFE

The DFFE said that all trophy hunting quotas are published in accordance with the regulations of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), as well as under the National Wildlife Act. environmental management: biodiversity (Nemba).

“South Africa is one of many countries implementing sustainable harvest of elephants, black rhinos and leopards.

“This is consistent with the best available scientific information on their conservation status and ensures that hunting these animals does not negatively impact wild populations of these species.”

The DFFE said “regulated and sustainable hunting” is good for conservation in South Africa, with incentives for the private sector and communities to conserve valuable wildlife and participate in “based land use”. on wildlife.

READ ALSO: PHOTOS, VIDEOS: A miracle rhinoceros born to orphan parents, a world first

Profit advantages

In addition, the department said income generated from trophy hunting was “essential” to poor rural communities.

In 2019, the hunting sector contributed R1.4 billion to the economy. This amount excluded the economic contribution to industries related to tourism and safaris.

Species royalties alone generated R1.1 billion, of which R208 million came from hunting threatened or endangered species.

“These species are at the heart of a vibrant international hunting industry, and hunting is part of South African heritage and culture.”

ALSO READ: Business as usual for trophy hunting industry as SA tops list of exhibitors

Trophy hunting and conservation

In 2020, South African trophy hunting exhibitors made up 29% of those exhibiting their hunted mammals at the Dallas Safari Club Convention.

Audrey Delsink, Africa Wildlife Director of Humane Society International (HSI) said The citizen Back then, there were far more beneficial ways of conserving wildlife than promoting adrenaline-filled thrill rides.

The fact that black rhinos are on the trophy hunting quota list every year came as a surprise to Delsink, given the “poaching pandemic.”

“The trophy hunting industry usually pretends to talk about conservation or uses the term to try to justify and legitimize its existence,” HSI-Africa said.

“With the illegal wildlife trade so rampant, it is concerning that this part of the trade spectrum continues unabated, continually targeting vulnerable and fragile populations,” Delsink added.

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