Lion Management: Our conservation manager represents SA Hunters on the Lion Working Group of SA, which is involved with the implementation of the Lion Biodiversity Management Plan this month. It is estimated that there are about 30,000 wild lions currently in Africa. Lion is listed regionally as least concern on the 2016 Red List Assessment and is on the Threatened and Protected Species (TOPS) list in terms of Section 56 (1) of NEMBA. Wild populations only occur in Kruger National Park, Kgalagadi, and Mapungubwe National Park, while 58 reserves have wild-managed populations. Wild lion populations in SA are healthy and growth is only limited by the lack of available suitable habitat for free ranging populations.
The Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, Ms Barbara Creecy, has confirmed the quotas for the trophy hunting of black rhino, leopard and elephant in South Africa for 2022. The 2022 quotas for the hunting and export of trophies of these three species is a deferral of the 2021 quota allocation, which was determined after the end of the hunting season in 2021. 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 total of 451 rhino were poached in South Africa in 2021, 327 within government reserves and 124 on private property. While there is a 24 percent decrease in rhino poaching compared to the pre-Covid period in 2019, there has been an increase in poaching on private properties.
In 2021, 209 rhino were poached for their horns in South African National Parks – all in the Kruger National Park. This was in fact a decrease in comparison to 2020 when 247 rhino were poached within the national parks. It is important to note that none of SANParks’ smaller rhino parks experienced any rhino losses from poaching in 2021, in comparison to the 2 rhino that were poached in 2020.
The SA Hunters and Game Conservation Association has launched a vulture conservation project, The Vulture Heritage Programme, as part of its ongoing commitment to conserve South Africa’s wildlife heritage.
Vultures provide critically important ecosystem services by cleaning up carcasses and reducing the risk of the spread of diseases, resulting in economic and health benefits to people. However, worldwide, vultures are among the most threatened group of birds with most species declining and many facing extinction. The ongoing decline of the six vulture species found in South Africa is alarming. Persecution, electrocution, poisoning, and illegal trade in vulture body parts for use in traditional medicine are some of the main reasons for this negative trend.
Minister Barbara Creecy released the High-Level Panel (HLP) report on the management, breeding, hunting, trade and handling of elephant, lion, leopard and rhinoceros on Sunday 2 May 2021. Besides providing specific interventions to resolve key issues in the sector, the report also provides for a re-conceptualised wildlife sector, that will provide a new deal for people and wildlife in South Africa, with a focus on thriving wild and wild managed wildlife populations. SA Hunters made specific inputs to the work of the Panel as part of the stakeholder engagement process.
Study urges the use of leg bands for marking individuals instead of wing tags
Conservationists who apply wing tags for identifying Cape Vultures—a species of African vulture that is vulnerable to extinction—are putting the birds’ lives further at risk, a new movement ecology study has shown. Researchers from the Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior in Germany and VulPro NPC in South Africa have demonstrated that Cape Vultures fitted with tags on their wings travelled shorter distances and flew slower than those fitted with bands around their legs. The research emphasises the importance of investigating the effects that tagging methods can have on the behaviour and conservation of species, prompting a shift towards the less invasive method of leg bands in the future study of Cape Vultures.
Development and implementation of a voluntary, market-based Wildlife Economy Certification Scheme
Draft Concept Note and Roadmap - 30 November 2020
The Wildlife Economy is underpinned by complex and multi-faceted agro-ecological farming systems. The primary objective of the wildlife rancher is to run a profitable enterprise across a range of four broad types of activities: 1) game ranching and live sales; 2) hunting (trophy and biltong); 3) game products (including game meat production) and 4) ecotourism. Wildlife ranches are managed along a continuum from more intensive to extensive systems, with some production units also including other agricultural practices and land uses. Open ranched lands may also have wildlife areas with free ranging wildlife populations.
The exceptional biodiversity of South Africa provides a wide range of benefits to the country’s economy, society and human well-being. The sustained benefit flows that nature provides are dependent on functioning ecosystems, healthy species populations and high genetic diversity.
South Africa saw a marked decline in rhino poaching during 2020, with the killing of rhino declining by 33%.
“While the extraordinary circumstances surrounding the battle to beat the Covid-19 pandemic contributed in part to the decrease in rhino poaching in 2020, the role of rangers and security personnel who remained at their posts, and the additional steps taken by government to effectively deal with these and related offences, also played a significant role,” said Environment, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Barbara Creecy.
During the various Lockdown Alert Levels in 2020, the movement of alleged poachers and rhino horn smugglers had been curtailed. Alongside this, the steps to address rhino poaching and wildlife crime across the country had been aligned to both the Integrated Strategic Management of Rhinoceros and the principles set out in the draft National Integrated Strategy to Combat Wildlife Trafficking (NISCWT).