South Africa Announces Appalling 2022 Hunting Quotas Of 10 Black Rhinos, 10 Leopards & 150 Elephants In The Name Of So-Called “Conservation”

Sadly, 170 more endangered species in South Africa have been issued senseless death warrants.

As per a statement from the Department of Forestry, Fisheries, and the Environment (DFEE), Minister Barbara Creecy has confirmed the quotas for the trophy hunting of 10 black rhinos, 10 leopards, and 150 elephants in South Africa for 2022.

The 2022 quotas for the hunting and export of so-called “trophies” from these three species is a deferral of the 2021 allocation, which was determined after the end of the hunting season. The deferral grants stakeholders the opportunity to make use of the 2021 quota in 2022. Consultation for the 2023 quota will take place during the course of this year.

A new report by the Humane Society International/Africa called Trophy Hunting by the Numbers, which was released today to coincide with World Wildlife Day, reveals South Africa’s shameful role as Africa’s largest exporter of so-called hunting “trophies,” and the second largest exporter globally, behind Canada, of species listed under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.

The data cited in HSI/Africa’s report contradicts the DFFE’s argument that is shockingly in favor of the trophy hunting quotas. The DFFE states that “regulated and sustainable hunting is an important conservation tool in South Africa,” a ridiculous statement. It confirms that 83% of trophies exported from South Africa are from captive-bred animals, non-native species or species that are not subject to scientifically based management plans such as caracal, baboons, and honey badgers. Also, only 25% of native-species exported as trophies are animals managed with a national conservation plan.

An economic review in eight countries in Africa, including South Africa, demonstrated that the total economic contribution of trophy hunters was at most an estimated 0.03% of gross domestic product, while overall tourism accounted for between 2.8% and 5.1% of GDP in those eight countries. Furthermore, conservation experts and professionals have critiqued trophy hunting as it, “yields low returns at household levels with only a fraction of generated income reaching local communities.” This argues the DFFE’s statement that, “income generated by trophy hunting is especially critical for marginalized and impoverished rural communities.”

 “We are terribly disappointed that the DFFE is failing in its duty to protect our threatened and endangered wildlife species. It is unacceptable that we allow people to hunt endangered and critically endangered animals for the purpose of collecting their remains as trophies,” Audrey Delsink, wildlife director for HSI/Africa, said in a statement. “The claim that trophy hunting contributes to conservation cannot be justified in light of the evidence demonstrating that one-third of South Africa’s hunting trophies are captive bred animals, and most are non-native or species not subject to science-based population management.”

“The captive breeding and intensive farming of wild animals in South Africa for profit often harms in situ conservation efforts, with negative impacts on biodiversity when protected landscapes are carved up into breeding camps and predator population structures, as predators are targeted as competition,” continued Delsink. “Trophy hunting further threatens the survival of threatened species such as leopards who already face multiple threats including habitat loss and degradation, poaching, illegal trade, and lethal conflict with humans. Killing animals for ‘fun’ is part of the archaic ‘if it pays it stays’ concept that demands immediate change. The ongoing and worsening biodiversity and climate change crises demand new science-based approaches to conservation that better serve our communities and our wildlife. Killing animals for pleasure has no place in conservation.”

Trophy Hunting by the Numbers report is the first of its kind and provides information on South Africa’s role in the international trade in trophy hunting of mammal species listed under CITES. The report covers the most recent five-year period for which complete data was available (2014-2018).

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