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Published On: Thu, Aug 16th, 2018

South Africa allocates seven leopards to 2018 trophy hunting quota

The South African government has lifted the 2016 ban on the hunting of leopards and allocated 7 males aged seven years and older to the 2018 quota for trophy hunting.

In a statement, Environmental Affairs minister Edna Molelwa said 7 male leopards – 5 in the Limpopo Province and 2 in KwaZulu-Natal – are available for trophy hunting this year.

“Based on a determination by the Scientific Authority, the Department of Environmental Affairs has confirmed the quota for the trophy hunting of leopard (Panthera pardus) in South Africa for 2018.

“It is important to note that the hunting of leopard is only undertaken in specified hunting zones where scientific evidence indicates stable leopard populations. The determination is based on a review of available scientific information on the status of leopard populations, and an evidence-based assessment by the Scientific Authority,” Molelwa said.

Photo credit: © Icon Films / Brad Bestelink

Among other duties, the Scientific Authority helps the Department of Environmental Affairs in regulating trade in specimens of listed threatened or protected species, and species to which an international agreement regulating international trade applies.

Molelwa said in setting the trophy hunting quota, the Scientific Authority considered data and reports from the National Leopard Monitoring Project and other sources on leopard numbers.

“As part of an ongoing adaptive management approach, the Scientific Authority concluded that a small quota, restricted to older males and coupled with the implementation of appropriate management systems as set out in the draft Norms and Standards for the Management and Monitoring of the Hunting of Leopard in South Africa for trophy hunting purposes, would not have a detrimental effect on the survival of leopard in the wild,” she said.

The implementation of the quota will be strictly supervised, with routine submission of applications and hunt returns data. Such data, including leopards killed as Damage Causing Animals (DCA), should be managed by the department at a national level.

Further, all norms and standards for the management and monitoring of leopard hunts in South Africa should be implemented. No hunting will take place where leopard populations are in decline or where there is an absence of scientifically robust data on leopard population trends

The private sector was urged to participate in joint leopard monitoring projects that follow global best practice guidelines.

The department called for urgent attention to be focused on the threat posed by the unregulated trade in leopard skins by local/traditional religious groups as new evidence suggests its impact is much greater than that of trophy hunting.

About the Author

- I am a Zimbabwean journalist with 18 years experience working in print broadcast and online media. From Gaborone in Botswana, I cover the African continent for South African-media organisations Defence Web and Oxpeckers Investigative Environmental Journalism. I am also a correspondent for African Aerospace (UK), the Botswana Gazette and The Zimbabwe Standard.

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