Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment’s decision to allow issuing quotas to trophy hunt 10 leopard, 10 black rhinoceros and 150 African elephants is suspended by the court

Humane Society International / Africa


Simon Eeman/Alamy

CAPE TOWN—The High Court of the Western Cape has handed down judgment in the application for an interim interdict against the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment’s (DFFE) 2022 hunting and export quotas for leopard, black rhino and elephant. The application for relief was brought by animal protection organization Humane Society International/Africa and was first heard in Court on 18 March 2022. The judgment handed down on 21 April 2022 confirms that, on the face of it, the 2022 trophy hunting quotas, as issued by the DFFE’s Minister Barbara Creecy, may be arguably invalid and unlawful – which will be determined in Part B of the court case.

The court held that interim relief be granted on two bases:

  1. The DFFE was not permitted to defer the fixed trophy hunting quotas for the year 2021 onto the year 2022. The deferral was not authorized nor contemplated under respective regulations relating to the international trade of these species, and it also violated the common law principle of legitimate expectation and was thus capable of review under the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act (PAJA).
  2. The DFFE failed to comply with the consultative process prescribed by the National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act 10 of 2004 (NEMBA) when making the quota decision in that the requisite public participation conditions were not met, the quota announcement was not published in the Government Gazette, and the Minister may not issue a quota for trophy hunting and export of elephant, black rhino or leopard without valid non-detriment findings.

The judgement also addresses the issues of irreparable harm and balance of convenience. The judgement asserts that if the relief is not granted, 170 animals will be killed during 2022, however, if the interdict is granted, those animals will be spared death pending the hearing of the review. If the review is found to be successful but the animals were killed, their populations may be irreversibly affected, the welfare of those individual animals will have been harmed and the rights claimed above will have been lost.

The only inconvenience to the Minister is that permits will not be issued, pending the hearing of the review. That does not mean that the financial considerations flowing therefrom are lost. If the review fails, the quota will still stand and can be implemented. “If the review is unsuccessful, the desire of the fortunate few who can afford to hunt protected animals exclusively for the purpose of transporting their trophies for display overseas will not have been lost, only delayed”, said Judge Gamble.

Tony Gerrans, executive director for Humane Society International/Africa, says: “Humane Society International welcomes the High Court’s ruling. The relief ordered provides us with the rightful opportunity to fully review the Minister’s Record of Decision in terms of which the quota allocations were determined. This data needs to be considered before such an impactful decision can be made. We are thankful that the High Court recognizes that the killing of our threatened, vulnerable and critically endangered wildlife cannot continue while this matter is heard.”

The interim relief granted means that: 1) the DFFE’s decision to allocate a hunting and export quota for elephant, black rhinoceros and leopard for the calendar year of 2022 is interdicted from being implemented or given effect to in any way; 2) the DFFE is interdicted from publishing in the Government Gazette or in any other way issuing a quota for the hunting and/or export of these species; and 3) the DFFE is interdicted from issuing any permit for the hunting and export of these species, until the matter is reviewed on the merits

Species and trophy hunting facts:

  • The leopard is listed as vulnerable on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.
  • The African elephant is listed as endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
  • The black rhino is listed as critically endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
  • study detailing South Africa’s role in the international trade in hunting trophies of mammal species listed under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) during the most recent five-year period for which data are available (2014-2018) demonstrated that:
    • South Africa is the second largest exporter of hunting trophies of CITES-listed mammal species globally, exporting 16% of the global total of hunting trophies; 4,204 on average per year.
    • South Africa is the biggest exporter of CITES-listed mammal species in Africa. South Africa exported 50% more trophies than Africa’s second largest exporter Namibia, and more than three times that of Africa’s third largest exporter, Zimbabwe.
    • Between 2014 and 2018 South Africa exported:
      • 574 African leopard trophies, or 115 per year on average. 98% of African leopard trophies exported from South Africa were wild source, while 2% were bred in captivity.
      • 1,337 African elephant trophies, or 268 per year on average, virtually all wild sourced. 47% of the total were exported to the United States.
      • 21 black rhino trophies, or five per year on average, all wild sourced.
    • About 83% of trophies exported from South Africa are captive-bred animals or non-native species, and native species with neither a national conservation management plan nor adequate data on their wild populations or the impact of trophy hunting on them. This data challenges the assertion that trophy hunting is critical to in situ conservation.
    • The top five species exported as trophies from South Africa are African lion (mostly captive), chacma baboon, southern lechwe (captive, non-native), caracal and vervet monkey. The most common captive-source species exported from South Africa between 2014 – 2018 was the African lion, comprising 58% of the total number of captive-source trophies exported.
    • Most (90%) trophies exported from South Africa originated in South Africa.
    • 68% of trophies exported from South Africa were from wild-sourced animals, while 32% were from captive animals –19% bred in captivity and 13% were born in captivity.
    • The top ten importing countries of South African wildlife trophies are:

 

Importing country  Percent of total 
United States 54%
Spain 5%
Russia 4%
Denmark 3%
Canada 3%
Mexico 2%
Germany 2%
Hungary 2%
Sweden 2%
France 2%
  • The 2022 Good Governance Africa report entitled “Trophy Hunting in South Africa: Is it worth it? An evaluation of South Africa’s policy decision to elevate trophy hunting as a key conservation tool” asserts that “the government’s apparent commitment to trophy hunting neither considers the opportunity costs associated with the practice nor its negative externalities”. It adds that whilst trophy hunting may generate some economic benefit, it is hardly enough to substantiate the overall harms that it does or to promote it as a conservation benefitting mechanism.

ENDS

Media contact: Leozette Roode, HSI/Africa media and communications specialist, LRoode@hsi.org,  +27 (0)71 360 1104

The Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment’s unlawful decision to permit the trophy hunting of 10 leopards, 150 elephants and 10 black rhinos to be reviewed

Humane Society International / Africa


Oliver de Ros/AP Images for HSI

CAPE TOWN—Today, the High Court of the Western Cape granted urgent interim relief pending the judgment of the interim interdict against the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment’s (DFFE) hunting and export quotas for leopard, black rhino and elephants.  

The application for the hunting and export quotas was brought by animal protection organisation Humane Society International/Africa, and was based upon HSI/Africa’s argument that the DFFE failed to comply with the consultative process prescribed by the National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act 10 of 2004 (NEMBA) when making the quota decision. HSI/Africa asserts that the relief provided, pending the judgment of the interim interdict, will provide opportunity to fully review the Minister’s Record of Decision by which these quota allocations were made. 

NEMBA prescribes a specific and comprehensive consultative public participation process that must be undertaken prior to such a decision being taken.  

HSI/Africa, during proceedings, argued that the 2022 trophy hunting quota, as  issued by the DFFE’s Minister Barbara Creecy, was unlawful for the following reasons: 

  • The DFFE announced the quotas on 25 February 2022 without consulting the public, which renders the decision invalid and unlawful; 
  • The notice for the 2021 quota, which was purportedly deferred to 2022 by the DFFE, was in any event defective and thus rendered any quota decisions arising from that process invalid and unlawful; 
  • The DFFE may not issue a quota for trophy hunting and export of elephant, black rhino or leopard without valid non-detriment findings. 

In its 25 February 2022 press release, the DFFE argued that the hunting quotas allocated are based on the fact that “regulated and sustainable hunting is an important conservation tool in South Africa.” However, HSI/Africa’s 2022 Trophy Hunting by the Numbers Report contradicts this argument, confirming that 83% of trophies exported from South Africa are from captive-bred animals, non-native species or species such as caracal, baboons and honey badgers that are not subject to scientifically based management plans. Also, only 25% of native species exported as trophies are managed with a national conservation plan. Hunting animals in these circumstances cannot be understood to advance the conservation of biodiversity.  

This month, Good Governance Africa released a report, authored by Dr Ross Harvey, entitled “Trophy Hunting in South Africa: Is it worth it? An evaluation of South Africa’s policy decision to elevate trophy hunting as a key conservation tool”. The report asserts that “the government’s apparent commitment to trophy hunting neither considers the opportunity costs associated with the practice nor its negative externalities”. Furthermore, it adds that whilst trophy hunting may generate some economic benefit, it is hardly enough to substantiate the overall harms that it does or to promote it as a conservation benefitting mechanism.  

Tony Gerrans, executive director for Humane Society International/Africa says: “HSI has long sought engagement with the Department regarding the harm that trophy hunting causesthe damage to individual animals and to the conservation of threatened and endangered wildlife, as well as South Africa’s reputation as an ethical wildlife destination. Today’s granting of interim relief, pending the final judgment of Part A, is another step in making these harms public and ensuring they are given the necessary consideration in wildlife policy. As Good Governance’s new report demonstrates, the economic and conservation benefits  of trophy hunting  are  materially overstated. It is not true to assert that without trophy hunting revenues, conservation in South Africa would be unfunded. More beneficial, transformational, long-term alternatives to the killing of threatened, vulnerable and endangered animals for fun already exist. Everyone has the right to have the environment protected for the benefit of present and future generations, through reasonable legislative and other measures that promote conservation.”

HSI/Africa will now await the final judgment on the interim interdict, which is expected in two weeks. The DFFE must make public the Minister’s Record of Decision that informed the quota announcement. Council will review all relevant documentation and a court will review the substantive matters basis of the quota of 10 vulnerable leopard, 150 endangered elephant and 10 critically endangered black rhino in 2022.  

Species and Trophy Hunting facts:

  • The leopard is listed as ‘vulnerable’ on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species. 
  • The African elephant is listed as ‘endangered’ on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 
  • The black rhino is listed as ‘critically endangered’ on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 
  • A study detailing South Africa’s role in the international trade in hunting trophies of mammal species listed under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) during the most recent five-year period for which data are available (2014-2018) demonstrated that:  
    • South Africa is the second largest exporter of trophies of CITES-listed mammal species globally, exporting 16% of the global total of hunting trophies, 4,204 on average per year.  
    • South Africa is the biggest exporter of CITES-listed mammal species in Africa. South Africa exported 50% more trophies than Africa’s second largest exporter Namibia, and more than three times that of Africa’s third largest exporter, Zimbabwe.  
  • Between 2014 and 2018 South Africa exported: 
    • 574 African leopard trophies, or 115 per year on average. 98% of African leopard trophies exported from South Africa were wild source, while 2% were bred in captivity.  
    • 1,337 African elephant trophies, or 268 per year on average, virtually all wild sourced. 47% of the total were exported to the United States.  
    • 21 black rhino trophies, or five per year on average, all wild sourced. 
  • About 83% of trophies exported are captive-bred animals or non-native species, and native species with neither a national conservation management plan nor adequate data on their wild populations or the impact of trophy hunting on them. This data challenges the assertion that trophy hunting is critical to in situ conservation. 
  • The top five species exported as trophies from South Africa are African lion (mostly captive), chacma baboon, southern lechwe (captive, non-native), caracal and vervet monkey. The most common captive-source species exported from South Africa between 2014 – 2018 was the African lion, comprising 58% of the total number of captive-source trophies exported.  
  • Most (90%) trophies exported from South Africa originated in South Africa. 
  • 68% of trophies exported from South Africa were from wild animals, while 32% were from captive animals –19% bred in captivity and 13% were born in captivity.  
  • The top ten importing countries of South African wildlife trophies are: 
Importing country   Percent of total  
United States   54%  
Spain   5%  
Russia   4%  
Denmark   3%  
Canada   3%  
Mexico   2%  
Germany   2%  
Hungary   2%  
Sweden   2%  
France   2%  

ENDS 

Media contact: Leozette Roode, HSI/Africa media and communications specialist: LRoode@hsi.org;  +27 (0)71 360 1104

Humane Society International / Canada


Send Minister Guilbeault a letter to express support for an end to elephant ivory and rhino horn trade in Canada.

Humane Society International / Africa


South Africa is the largest cosmetics market on the continent, where animal testing for cosmetics is still legal.

Humane Society International / Africa


Elephant
2630ben/istock

A weighty 75,504 global citizens (including at least 9,011 voices from South Africa) are calling on Minister Barbara Creecy and her Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE) to implement the New Deal for People and Wildlife, as outlined in the draft Policy Position on the conservation and ecologically sustainable use of elephant, lion, leopard and rhinoceros, without further delay.

On 2 May 2021, Minister Creecy announced her proposal to adopt the vision outlined in the High-Level Panel’s report and its associated goals and recommendations, including the courageous step towards bringing an end to the commercial captive lion industry in South Africa.

In a submission to an extended call for comments on the draft Policy Position document, thousands of South Africans, voices from the African continent and beyond expressed their collective concern about the fate of South Africa’s biodiversity and iconic wildlife, and their support for the visionary draft Policy Position that seeks to redefine South Africa’s relationship with its wildlife.

The public are now asking the Minister to follow through on her promises and set ambitious and urgent time frames for the forward-looking goals outlined in the policy document, including:

  • To immediately halt the domestication and exploitation of lion, and the closure of captive lion facilities.
  • To reverse the domestication and intensification of management of rhino. To prohibit ivory and rhino horn trade under current conditions.
  • To restrict ex situ live export of the iconic species.
  • To implement an increased wildness, naturalness and wellbeing of fauna focus. To adopt the One Welfare approach.
  • To embrace a transformative African approach to conservation and ecologically sustainable use, consistent with Ubuntu.

These progressive and ambitious goals proposed by the Minister and DFFE are supported by many organisations, including Blood Lions, Humane Society International – Africa, World Animal Protection, Born Free Foundation, and FOUR PAWS South Africa. These five animal welfare organisations commend the Minister for such a progressive conservation policy and urge her to finalise the policy in order to implement the proposed changes.

These shifts in policy will not only signify a New Deal for people and wildlife, but also position South Africa as a global conservation leader and destination of choice for nature-based tourism, a key future driver of our economy and rural socio-economic development.

The draft Policy Position on the conservation and ecologically sustainable use of elephant, lion, leopard and rhinoceros was developed after a year-long consultation process by the High-Level Panel, established by the Minister, and their recommendations in a 600-page Ministerial report.

The finalisation of the draft Policy Position document is vital to put the necessary processes in place to achieve this new vision and goals in the interest of South Africa, all of her people and its wildlife.

Petition links: Change.org and Care2 Petitions

Quotes from organisations involved:

Dr. Louise de Waal, Campaign Manager & Director, Blood Lions

“The Blood Lions film and global campaign was launched in 2015 and has worked tirelessly to end this cruel and unethical industry and its spin-off activities. We commend the Minister in her decisive leadership to bringing an end to the commercial captive lion breeding industry. However, the welfare of the predators involved in this exploitative industry hangs in the balance and thus swift and adequate action from DFFE and the Minister is required to start implementing a responsible phase out process. In this process, we hope that the Minister will afford all other indigenous and exotic big cats the same fate as she promised for our captive lions.”

Dr Audrey Delsink, Wildlife Director, HSI-Africa

“Tens of thousands of people locally and internationally support our call on Minister Creecy to act now. With One Welfare and wellbeing at the core of this transformative environmental policy, an end to intensive management and the exploitative use of animals may materialise. We urge the Minister to act swiftly to prevent further unnecessary cruelty during the implementation process, particularly for captive bred lions, who cannot remain in limbo during this interim stage towards reform. We stand ready to support the minister and her department during this critical process.”

Fiona Miles, Director, FOUR PAWS South Africa

“FOUR PAWS in South Africa is in full support of the Government’s decision to undertake the progressive resolutions set out within its Draft Policy Paper on the management of five of the country’s iconic wildlife species. We believe the decision to end the captive lion breeding industry is truly pivotal and will change the future of the tens of thousands of lions that are currently being exploited. It is estimated up to 12,000 lions currently suffer across the country, where they are used for tourism purposes, such as bottle feeding, cub petting, walk with activities, trophy hunting and finally, their bones used in international wildlife trade markets. The end of this industry is something FOUR PAWS has been campaigning towards for 15 years and we are at Minister Creecy and her Department’s disposal, to ensure the decisions are implemented efficiently and effectively. We urge the Government to take the necessary action swiftly, in order to prevent further suffering.”

Edith Kabesiime, Wildlife Campaign Manager, World Animal Protection Africa

“World Animal Protection and Blood Lions together with many other stakeholders in the animal welfare and conservation sectors made a wealth of compelling science-based evidence available to the High-Level Panel in written and oral submissions in 2020. World Animal Protection continues to applaud Minister Barbara Creecy for her leadership and the bold steps so far taken, as part of the process to close down the commercial captive lion breeding industry. We would like to assure the Minister and DFFE that World Animal Protection remains committed and is ready to offer expertise to find practical solutions on how to phase out this industry completely. We should not allow the few individuals profiting from this cruel industry to win. Wild animals have a right to a wild life.”

Dr Mark Jones, Head of Policy, Born Free Foundation.

“Since our inception we have sought to highlight the devastating consequences of the exploitation of wild animals for trade, hunting and other destructive purposes. We have also advocated for many years for an end to the commercial lion breeding industry in South Africa, which currently exploits thousands of lions and other captive-bred predators for tourism activities such as cub petting and walking with lions, canned hunting, and the sale of bones and other products into international markets. The progressive reforms proposed by Minister Creecy have the potential to transform South Africa’s relationship with wild animals, and place it at the forefront of regional and international wildlife protection efforts for the good of all. It is vital that they are implemented in full and without delay. We stand ready to work with the South African authorities and other stakeholders to ensure that the reforms are successfully implemented and the objectives achieved, with full regard for animal welfare, and for the benefit of wildlife and wider biodiversity, as well as for the people of South Africa.”

ENDS

Media Contacts:

  • Humane Society International: Marisol Gutierrez: mgutierrez@hsi.org
  • Blood Lions: Dr Louise de Waal: management@bloodlions.org; (+27) 076 148 1533

Humane Society International / Africa


Locals worry that Humba and Netsai, two male lions dubbed “Cecil’s heirs,” could be sitting targets of foreign trophy hunters.

Humane Society International / Africa


Bliznetsov/iStock.com

Humane Society International/Liberia, in collaboration with Liberia’s Forestry Development Authority (FDA), recently convened a two-day wildlife law enforcement training for members of the country’s security sector and judiciary.

Speaking at the opening of the workshop, Bomi County Inspector Jumah E S Goll challenged the participants to enhance their skills to protect wildlife by implementing the law. He also said that the protection of wildlife is the collective effort of every Liberian, including the security sector and the judiciary–and that knowledge concerning wildlife will go a long way to protecting the animals across the country.

Inspector Jumah Goll emphasised that enforcing the law will ensure the preservation of wildlife in their natural habitat and that serious attention should be given to the laws protecting Liberia’s wild animals.

“It is essential for security personnel and the judiciary to participate in the FDA’s mandate to ensure that Liberia`s biodiversity is preserved,” added HSI/Liberia country director, Morris Darbo.

According to Darbo, Liberia presents a unique biodiversity hotspot in the sub-region that needs to be conserved for future generations. He also appealed to the participants to use the training as an opportunity to learn and to join the FDA in combating wildlife crime in the country.

Technical Manager for the Conservation Department of FDA, Blamah S. Goll said that the wildlife law enforcement training should be taken seriously.

“Our forefathers should be lauded for preserving the biodiversity over the years and now this generation should be able to protect and preserve wildlife for the future,” added Manager Goll.

The death of Mopane is reminiscent of Cecil’s demise

Humane Society International / Africa


Chris Upton/Alamy Stock Photo Lion in the wild.

LONDON—A majestic lion named Mopane was killed allegedly by an American hunter outside of Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe last week. Mopane’s death has sparked international outcry with details surrounding his killing similar to those of Cecil the lion, slaughtered in 2015 in the same area. With his impressive mane, Mopane was well-known to local tour guides and international tourists visiting the area to catch a glimpse of him.

Just like 13-year-old Cecil who was lured with an elephant carcass as bait, it was reported that the approximately 12-year-old Mopane was possibly lured out of the Hwange National Park with bait and killed in in the same place that Cecil was killed on land adjacent to the Park. Like Cecil who headed up a lion pride, Mopane was known to have formed a coalition with another male lion named Sidhule, and the two males formed a pride with two adult females and six sub-adults of about 16 to 18 months old. Locals were concerned that Sidhule and Mopane would be targeted by trophy hunters and started a petition to protect them. Unfortunately, Sidhule fell victim to a trophy hunter and was killed two years ago this month in 2019.

Kitty Block, CEO of Humane Society International and president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, said, “Mopane was a father and played a significant role in his pride. Without him, his pride is now vulnerable to takeover by another male or group of males, which may lead to the killing of the cubs and females in his pride. Yet, as with Cecil six years ago, the perverse pleasure some people derive from killing iconic animals brought this noble lion’s life to a tragic end. Another trophy hunter spending tens of thousands of dollars on a globe-trotting thrill-to-kill escapade shows humanity at its worst. It is shameful that the U.S. has the distinction of being the world’s biggest importer of hunting trophies. Enough is enough.” 

The African lion is protected under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. However, trophy hunters continue to be authorized by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to import trophy-hunted lions and other species threatened with extinction under a permitting scheme that HSUS and HSI have challenged as violating federal law. The Humane Society Legislative Fund is currently working with the Administration and Congress to address this dangerous and broken import permit system.

Neither Cecil’s nor Mopane’s killings are anomalies. Between 2009 and 2018, 7,667 lion trophies were traded internationally, including into the U.S. and the European Union. In addition to advocating to eliminate the import of lion trophies into the U.S., HSI is working in South Africa to prohibit the export of lion trophies and in the U.K. and European Union to prohibit the import of imperiled species trophies.

Arthur Thomas, Humane Society International/UK’s public affairs manager, said: “The tragic news that another magnificent male lion in Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park has been baited and killed by a trophy hunter, brings back heart-wrenching memories of the day six years ago that Cecil the lion died a similar fate at the hands of a hunter. It’s a sobering reminder, if one were needed, that we must end trophy hunting and afford our precious wild animals the protection they desperately need. This lion’s death comes as the UK government is yet to make good on its pledge to ban UK trophy imports and exports. Our plea to Prime Minister Boris Johnson is to demonstrate global leadership on this issue and bring forward a comprehensive and rigorously-enforced ban on all hunting trophies now, and help stop this barbaric practice.”

Additional information:

  • An estimated 20,000 mature lions remain in the wild in Africa.
  • Lions are infanticidal species. Infanticide occurs when adult males take over a new territory and kills the dependent cubs in order to increase mating opportunities with resident females that have dependent offspring.
  • Human-induced removal of lions, such as trophy hunting, disrupts social group and results in infanticide. More information on African lions can be found
  • While the U.S. is the largest importer of hunting trophies, the EU has surpassed the U.S. as the largest importer of lion trophies between 2016 and 2018 according to a new report by HSI/Europe.

ENDS

Media Contacts: 

The death of Mopane is reminiscent of Cecil’s demise

Humane Society International / Africa


Chris Upton/Alamy Stock Photo Lion in the wild.

WASHINGTON—A majestic lion named Mopane was allegedly killed by an American hunter outside of Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe last week. Mopane’s death has sparked international outcry with details surrounding his killing similar to those of Cecil the lion, slaughtered in 2015 in the same area. With his impressive mane, Mopane was well-known to local tour guides and international tourists visiting the area to catch a glimpse of him.

Just like 13-year-old Cecil who was lured with an elephant carcass as bait, it was reported that the approximately 12-year-old Mopane was possibly lured out of the Hwange National Park with bait and killed in in the same place that Cecil was killed on land adjacent to the Park. Like Cecil who headed up a lion pride, Mopane was known to have formed a coalition with another male lion named Sidhule, and the two males formed a pride with two adult females and six sub-adults of about 16 to 18 months old. Locals were concerned that Sidhule and Mopane would be targeted by trophy hunters and started a petition to protect them. Unfortunately, Sidhule fell victim to a trophy hunter and was killed two years ago this month in 2019.

Kitty Block, CEO of Humane Society International and president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, said, “Mopane was a father and played a significant role in his pride. Without him, his pride is now vulnerable to takeover by another male or group of males, which may lead to the killing of the cubs and females in his pride. Yet, as with Cecil six years ago, the perverse pleasure some people derive from killing iconic animals brought this noble lion’s life to a tragic end. Another trophy hunter spending tens of thousands of dollars on a globe-trotting thrill-to-kill escapade shows humanity at its worst. It is shameful that the U.S. has the distinction of being the world’s biggest importer of hunting trophies. Enough is enough.” 

Sara Amundson, president of Humane Society Legislative Fund said, “The individual depravity that underlies trophy hunting is self-evident. But the terrible truth is that our federal government systematically enables trophy hunting of threatened and endangered species by Americans through its failure to revise import policies that permit the bloodshed to continue. On the campaign trail President Biden expressed his concern for this issue and he can and should now direct the relevant federal agencies to halt the import of trophy parts from species listed under the Endangered Species Act. Until we have a properly implemented regulatory framework that upholds the conservation mandate in federal law, this is little more than lawless carnage.”

The African lion is protected under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. However, trophy hunters continue to be authorized by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to import trophy-hunted lions and other species threatened with extinction under a permitting scheme that HSUS and HSI have challenged as violating federal law. The Humane Society Legislative Fund is currently working with the Administration and Congress to address this dangerous and broken import permit system.

Neither Cecil’s nor Mopane’s killings are anomalies. Between 2009 and 2018, 7,667 lion trophies were traded internationally, including into the U.S. and the European Union. In addition to advocating to eliminate the import of lion trophies into the U.S., HSI is working in South Africa to prohibit the export of lion trophies and in the U.K. and European Union to prohibit the import of imperiled species trophies.

Additional information:

  • An estimated 20,000 mature lions remain in the wild in Africa.
  • Lions are infanticidal species. Infanticide occurs when adult males take over a new territory and kills the dependent cubs in order to increase mating opportunities with resident females that have dependent offspring.
  • Human-induced removal of lions, such as trophy hunting, disrupts social group and results in infanticide. More information on African lions can be found
  • While the U.S. is the largest importer of hunting trophies, the EU has surpassed the U.S. as the largest importer of lion trophies between 2016 and 2018 according to a new report by HSI/Europe.

ENDS

Media Contacts:

Humane Society International / Africa


Sam Delaney/ Elephant Reintegration Trust From Left to Right: Tenisha Roos (Elephant Researcher), Tammy Eggeling (Principle Elephant Researcher, ERT), Brett Mitchell (Chairman, ERT), Dr Audrey Delsink (Wildlife Director, HSI/Africa) and JJ van Altena (Global Supplies/HSI/Africa Project Implementation Specialist) with immobilised elephant bull fitted with a satellite tracking collar to facilitate remote monitoring.

CAPE TOWN—Humane Society International/Africa (HSI/Africa) and the Elephant Reintegration Trust (ERT) have joined forces in a research project that could change the way that elephants are managed in South Africa in the future.

Nine reserves are currently part of the research project, with more due to join as the project progresses.

“While we know a lot about elephants, there’s so much more to learn – especially the effects that human interventions and management have on their lives and welfare,” said HSI/Africa wildlife director, Dr Audrey Delsink.

HSI/Africa’s elephant immunocontraception programme is already successfully ensuring non-lethal population control amongst elephant cows, with > 1150 females already contracepted in South Africa.

“This prevents the need for lethal culling as it controls local population densities, helping to mitigate potential elephant-human conflict in communities alongside reserves. However, we need to examine the effects of decisions that have been taken particularly for bull elephants—because not all are favourable or biologically relevant,” added Delsink.

According to the ERT, many undesirable bull elephant behaviours may be due to lack of knowledge around the importance of elephant social dynamics which results in poor management practices such as unbalanced demographics, or the incorrect or prolonged use of treatments to suppress musth and aggression in bulls.

“Extensive observation, monitoring and tracking is showing us how elephants use their landscape. When bull elephants break out of reserves, show aggression or unwanted behaviour, this invariably points towards a lack of space or social stability in the system, often resulting due to previous uninformed management decisions. If not responsibly addressed such behaviours will likely escalate,” said ERT chairman, Brett Mitchell.

The research team aims to use their findings to guide the management of free ranging elephants and the reintegration of captive elephants back into wild systems.

“We’re also aiming to develop a meta-population management approach to assist reserves to monitor and manage their elephant populations more effectively so that potential problems can be mitigated before they arise,” added Delsink.

The ERT and HSI/Africa team were recently at the Khamab Kalahari Reserve in the North West province with partner Global Supplies and veterinarian Dr Zoe Glyphis to deploy additional satellite collars on elephant bulls. This will help the team to better understand the dynamics of the elephants’ movement ahead of an introduction of new, various aged bulls, selected with the intention of building up the current bull hierarchy.

Download Photos/Video

ENDS

Media Contact: Marisol Gutierrez: 072 358 9531; mgutierrez@hsi.org

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