SOUTH AFRICAN HERITAGE – ZOOS REFLECT A DEEPLY COLONIAL VIEWPOINT

THE WILDLIFE ANIMAL PROTECTION FORUM SOUTH AFRICA ADDRESSES AN OPEN LETTER TO HIS EXCELLENCY PRESIDENT CYRIL RAMAPHOSA

The Presidency, Republic of South Africa, Tuynhuis, Private Bag X1000, Cape Town 8000

Friday, 2 October 2020

BY EMAIL:  presidency@presidency.gov.za

Your Excellency President Ramaphosa, 

SOUTH AFRICAN HERITAGE – ZOOS ARE PERPETUATING A DEEPLY COLONIAL POINT OF VIEW 

On Heritage Day, 24th September 2020, President Ramaphosa said that: 

“The naming and renaming of towns and cities forms part of building a united nation, as well as the erection of new statues and monuments.  Monuments glorifying our divisive past should be repositioned and relocated.  This has generated controversy, with some saying we are trying to erase our history.  But we make no apologies for this.  Any symbol, monument or activity that glorifies racism, that represents our ‘ugly’ past has no place in a democratic South Africa.  The struggle against apartheid was first and foremost aimed at ensuring that all our people should reclaim their dignity, black and white.  Restoring dignity is the preoccupation of this administration.”

The Wildlife Animal Protection Forum South Africa (WAPFSA) is a Forum made up of individuals representing environmental, conservation and wildlife protection organisations, these include experts from the scientific, conservation, legal, welfare, animal rights, tourism, social justice and public advocacy sectors. 

WAPFSA would like President Ramaphosa to also consider acknowledging the fact that the zoos in South Africa are lasting monuments to the colonialist ideology of capturing indigenous people, wild animals and plants and keeping them on display.  Menageries of the 18th century brought indigenous people and “exotic” animals to Western society and zoos today are a constant painful reminder of this practise. 

From the very beginning of South Africa’s history, colonists exercised their control and authority. At first they controlled the Khoikhoi people and simultaneously crafted racist and sexists ideologies about the culture of all indigenous people they encountered as they moved north. Travelogues that circulated in Europe described Africa as being uncivilised. They enforced the belief that it was in Africa’s best interest to be colonized by European settlers. 

Human zoos, also known as ethnological expositions, were well documented 19th and 20th century exhibitions of humans.  These displays emphasised the cultural difference between Europeans of Western civilization and non-Europeans who practised a lifestyle which was deemed more primitive. 

One of the most well-known examples of ethnological expositions in our history is the one that took place in 1810, when Saartjie Baartman a Khoikhoi was taken to England.  On the 10th January 1811 at the New Theatre in London a pantomime called “The Hottentot Venus” was featured at the end of the evenings entertainment.   Saartjie Baartman was the so-called Hottentot who was displayed, people were allowed to touch her for a fee. In 1814 Saartjie Baartman was sold to an animal trainer and taken to Paris where she was exhibited as a “freak’.  Even in death, she became the object of scientific and medical research. Her genitals, her brain and a death cast of her body were displayed until 1985.  After five years of negotiation her remains were returned to South Africa on the 3rd May 2002. 

In the 1870’s exhibitions of exotic populations became popular in various countries.  Human zoos could be found in Paris, Hamburg, Antwerp, Barcelona, London, Milan and New York City.   Wild animal merchants in Europe exhibited Africans and wild animals. In 1925 a display at Belle Vue zoo in Manchester, in England was entitled “Cannibals” and featured black Africans depicted as savages.  In 1958 a Congolese village was displayed at the Brussels World’s Fair.  The history of human zoos is long and very painful.  

In 2020 South Africa still has colonial contructs―zoos―which reinforce notions of conquest, control and “Othering’. The purpose for these zoos, the practice of keeping wild nonhuman animals captive is a source of contention.  Debates regarding individual animal rights and animal welfare is especially relevant now.  

The government zoo in Bloemfontein had to be closed recently because the animals were left to themselves, animals died of starvation.  There are still government zoos in Pretoria, Johannesburg and East London.  The budget to run these facilities could be better spent on real education.

If we are going to consider ourselves to be post-colonial then we need to shed the colonial narrative and remove wild animals from cages.  There is a renewed global focus on racism and the violent colonial history is being highlighted worldwide. South Africa should lead the way, we do not need colonial styled zoos in South Africa instead these facilities could become centres of virtual and immersive technologies, libraries and places of education and study.  

It became apparent during the global COVID_19 pandemic that children and students needed places where they could access high-speed WIFI in order to continue their studies.  Children and students need large areas of safe space to study.  The zoos in South Africa could be turned into such facilities.  The education of South Africans about our diverse environment and wildlife can continue with live-streamed safari experiences to audiences at these facilities.  Lectures could be delivered.  The positive educational possibilities are endless. 

We eagerly await your positive response.  

Yours Sincerely,

Senior Chief Stephen Fritz  South Peninsula Customary Khoisan Council

Supporting Members of WAPFSA: 

Megan Carr Founder Rhinos in Africa

Winter Worsthorne Founder Animal Talk Africa                                                                           

Sai African Climate Alliance                                                     

Jennie Trethowan Founder Baboon Matters                                                                    

Smaragda Louw Director Ban Animal Trading                                                            

Toni Brockhoven Chairperson Beauty Without Cruelty (South Africa)                            

Peter Oxford Founder Betty’s Bay Baboon Action Group                         

Samantha Dewhirst Director Centre for Animal Rehabilitation and Education              

Michele Pickover Director EMS Foundation                                                                

Fiona Miles Director Four Paws (SA)                                                                     

Anna Centura Co-Founder Future 4 Wildlife                                                                  

Jabu Myeni Environmental Education, Gifted for Good                                                                    

Linda Tucker CEO Founder Global White Lion Protection Trust                                  

Les Mitchell Director Institute for Critical Animal Studies (Africa)                  

Steve Smit Co-Founder Monkey Helpline

Kim Da Ribeira Director OSCAP-Outraged SAfrican Citizens Against Poaching

Vivien Law Parliament for the People                                                   

Lex Abnett Director Southern African Fight for Rhinos                                    

Dave Du Toit Founder Vervet Monkey Foundation                                                

Sera Farista Youth Climate Group                                                          

Guy Jennings Director WildAid Southern Africa                                                    

The research, content, writing and translation of this letter was carried out by Megan Carr, Founder of Rhinos in Africa, on behalf of Chief Stephen Fritz

Image Credit: Daily Mail United Kingdom with the following text: The horrifying industry was also active in Europe. An African girl is shown at the 1958 Expo in Brussels, Belgium that featured a “Congo Villiage” with visitors watching her from behind wooden fences

© 2020 WAPFSA. All rights reserved

KATAZA, ALL FOR ONE AND ONE FOR ALL

A LETTER WRITTEN TO THE EDITOR OF THE DAILY MAVERICK

KATAZA, ALL FOR ONE AND ONE FOR ALL

Kataza, a southern chacma baboon was forcibly removed from the Slangkop troop, his family, in Kommetjie approximately two weeks ago. He was dropped off more than  twenty kilometres away on the urban edge of Tokai, in the Western Cape of South Africa.

The baboon monitors who had worked closely with conservationists, were replaced in 2012 by Human Wildlife Solutions (HWS). Their methods of management have included removals and the use of pain-inducing paint ball guns as a deterrent. Dame Jane Goodall, a world renowned primatologist has been outspoken and critical of “unnecessarily hostile tactics”[1].  According to recent reports[2], HWS  have now lost their annual fourteen million rand baboon management contract with the City of Cape Town. 

During Kataza’s absence from the Slangkop troop, the alpha male George has killed at least one of Kataza’s offspring.  According to Dr Andrew King, a professor at Swansea University in the United Kingdom, George “is adopting a clever evolutionary strategy, with no infants to care for, the infants’ mother stops lactation and becomes ready to conceive”[3]. Kataza, as we know, did not leave the troop of his own accord, he was “dispersed of”.

Kataza, in the meanwhile has been refused veterinary assessment from the wildlife division of the Cape of Good Hope SPCA (CGHSPCA) even though he is showing signs of exhaustion, distress and confusion as he tries in vain to return to his troop in Kommetjie.

The Wildlife Animal Protection Forum South Africa (WAPFSA) consists of conservation and wildlife protection organisations, these include experts from the scientific, conservation, legal, welfare, animal rights, tourism, social justice and public advocacy sectors. The members of WAPFSA would like to clarify that the enormous public concern about the pitiless, forced removal and relocation of Kataza, has become the tipping point for many conservationists and concerned citizens. Not only are they worried about the well-being of this individual baboon but he has become a symbol of all that is wrong with the callous style in which the baboons of the Western Cape are treated by the authorities.   

The planet’s wildlife is in a precipitous decline, Sir David Attenborough has stated this weekend that children born today will witness the sixth mass extinction[4].  Our extractive and unempathetic relationship with nature needs to be urgently readdressed. Baboons play a crucial role in preserving the biodiversity of the Cape Floral Kingdom and many residents of the Western Cape feel fortunate to be able to enjoy having baboons as neighbours. The City of Cape Town though, and some residents,  seem to have lost sight of the fact that many homes are in fact situated on the edges of nature reserves and the rights of baboons should therefore be protected. There is unanimous agreement on all sides of the debate, that irresponsible waste management, both household and municipal is one of the single biggest root causes of human/baboon conflict.

Shirley Strum, a primatologist has stated that “It is garbage and the humans’ food in it, that attracts baboons and is the source of much conflict between people and the animals… it is important to find ways to convince people to dispose of their refuse properly and to use the baboon-proof bins correctly… It needs a serious PR campaign and then some enforcement and penalties to motivate people to act right… it would be a shame if they [baboons] died out because of bad human behaviour.” 

A recent paper in Science: “Engage with animal welfare in conservation[5]”, argues that conservationists should be concerned not only about the persistence of animal species and populations but about the welfare of individual animals. 

Professor David Bilchitz of the South African Institute for Advanced Constitutional Public and Human Rights and International Law has also argued that, in order to save a species from extinction, we need an “integrative approach[6]”, which recognises the intrinsic value and promotes the respect for the individual non-human animal. 

Jenni Trethowan, the founder of Baboon Matters, has spent thirty years working with baboons and she has developed non-lethal management techniques with the guidance of primatologists Dave Gaynor and Ruth Kansky. It has been shown that using the intimate knowledge gained by studying the individual behaviours of the troop and traditional herding techniques will achieve the desired goal of a harmonious co-existence, when baboons encroach with humans.

WAPFSA has engaged with Minister Bredell and he has confirmed that the Ministry of Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning and Cape Nature will be organising a workshop to engage in discussions on scientific research and animal protection principles that will underpin the protocols for the treatment of baboons and their co-existence with their human counterparts going forward. WAPFSA believes that through collaboration, transparency, dialogue, best science and a more humane, ethical and respectful approach both humans and baboons will benefit. 

The current unacceptable and disruptive treatment of Kataza demands immediate intervention. Lawyers acting for Baboon Matters have requested an emergency compassionate solution for Kataza in order to save his life. 

Written by Stefania Falcon on behalf of WAPFSA

Continue reading “KATAZA, ALL FOR ONE AND ONE FOR ALL”

WAPFSA CALLS FOR URGENT MORATORIUM TO REVISE GUIDELINES FOR THE MANAGEMENT OF BABOONS IN THE WESTERN CAPE

OPEN LETTER

WAPFSA CALLS FOR A MORATORIUM AND A WORKSHOP TO REVISE OUTDATED, INEFFECTIVE, UNETHICAL GUIDELINES FOR THE MANAGEMENT OF BABOONS IN THE WESTERN CAPE

Mr Anton Bredell The Honourable Minister or Local Government Environment Affairs and Development Planning Mr Anton Bredell

Dr Baard Cape Nature

Liezl de Villiers Senior Environmental Management Section Overstrand Municipality

25th August 2020,

Honourable Minister Bredell,

The undersigned organizations are part of the Wildlife Animal Protection Forum South Africa (WAPFSA), an alliance of diverse South African NGOs that share certain values, knowledge and objectives and that collectively comprise a body of expertise from scientific, conservation, legal, welfare, rights, tourism, social justice and public advocacy sectors.

Continue reading “WAPFSA CALLS FOR URGENT MORATORIUM TO REVISE GUIDELINES FOR THE MANAGEMENT OF BABOONS IN THE WESTERN CAPE”

THE SUBMISSION BY THE EMS FOUNDATION AND ANIMAL LAW REFORM SOUTH AFRICA IN RESPECT OF THE DEFF HIGH LEVEL PANEL

SUBMITTED ON THE 15TH JUNE 2020

The submission relates to the Management, Breeding, Hunting, Trade, Handling and Related matters to the Elephant, Lion, Leopard and Rhinoceros.

Disclaimers

Please note that this Submission is non-exhaustive and does not represent all the responses to the issues and matters raised herein. We reserve the right to provide any further or additional information on aspects raised herein.

We are submitting so as to be able to record our initial high-level views and resources; however, our Submission is by no means a complete one in relation to the topics, objections or matters that may be raised.

We wish to note upfront that we believe there are various issues with the contents, processes, and related matters in respect of the Panel generally, as well as the Call for Submission. Consequently, our Submission does not constitute a waiver of any rights we may have, including but not limited to challenging the Department, the High-Level Panel/ Advisory Committee or otherwise, or take any other action we deem fit in respect thereof.

Specifically, we believe that insufficient time and notice has been provided for us to provide complete comments. The entire process on this Call for Submissions has been done during a declared National State of Disaster and lockdown of the country. During this time, particularly as NGOs, we have experienced major strain on our resources and capacity to deal with matters.

The views expressed herein are those of the two organisations and do not necessarily represent those of every individual director, member, employee, representative, volunteer, affiliate or others of either EMS and/or ALRSA.

We have attempted to be as comprehensive as possible, given the time, resources and other relevant factors and constraints, however we may not have responded or included each and every relevant consideration. Accordingly, it should be noted that different persons have provided input and we have tried within these constraints to collate this input as effectively, consistently, and practicably as possible.

We have further attempted to reference as footnotes or hyperlink the resources relied upon for this submission. Should you require any further information in respect of these or the Submission more generally, we are happy to provide these.

We reserve any and all rights, remedies and actions available to us.

©2020 Wildlife Animal Protection Forum. All rights reserved.

WAPFSA OPPOSES THE PROPOSAL FOR A NEW GAME MEAT ABATTOIR AT LONDOLOZI PRIVATE GAME RESERVE

Londolozi Private Game Reserve is part of the Sabi Sands Private Game Reserve, situated on the western border of the Kruger National Park. Until 1971 it was a hunting farm, Dave and John Varty shifted the focus of the property to ecotourism and photographic safaris. Londolozi is the Zulu word meaning “protector of all living things”.

In May 2019 a proposal was published regarding the establishment of a wild meat abattoir at Londolozi. Please find all the details of the proposal in the following document:

WAPFSA NOTICED SOME INTERESTING SOCIAL MEDIA COMMENTARY FOLLOWING THE ANNOUNCEMENT OF ESTABLISHING AN ABATTOIR AT LONDOLOZI PRIVATE GAME RESERVE:

“With climate change our rainfall is 200mm less than it was before. This means our carrying capacity has dropped considerably, we have been forced to reduce hippo and impala. All this meat was processed by the Kruger Park abattoir which is close to Skukuza. I would like to see this abattoir relocated to the Kruger Park western boundary where it can provide necessary protein to the hungry people on the Kruger Park and Sabi Sand western boundary. This will help to combat the subsistence poaching which is rising rapidly in the Kruger at the moment. Tread light. John Varty

“Londolozi shares an unfenced border with the Greater Kruger National Park. Wild animals, including those of the Greater Kruger National Park, move freely across onto the privately-owned Londolozi. The Varty’s enjoy the reward of this free movement. Allowing this abattoir will licence and enable the Varty’s to capture and kill any Greater Kruger animals that tread on the Londolozi property in the name of climate change or any other excuse to privately kill wild animals on their property. Permission for this abattoir will set a dangerous precedent for all the other, and there are many, unfenced private properties that share an unfenced border with the Greater Kruger National Park. ” Johann Rademeyer

“JV – your coffee is cold if you really believe that setting up an abattoir to process impala and hippo meat at Londolozi is a good thing and is needed because of climate change! I have heard a lot of BS in my life, but his sits right near the top. There have been droughts in the Lowveld over the millennia and wildlife has survived these droughts (and anyway you are a mere 2000 hectares in a 3 million hectare open system). What has happened to the Londolozi mantra of being “the protector of ALL living things”. Surely, just surely this contradiction must have registered at some point and caused you to think about what you folks are doing? Sometimes in life we all make cock-ups and his is one of those times. My advice is to front up; own up to the mistake; immediately stop all hunting on Londolozi and permanently cancel any plans for an abattoir. Or is money more important? Tread lightly John, tread lightly indeed.” Colin Bell

The game meat or meat harvested from wild animals is a industry that WAPFSA is following closely. Is the development of proposed abattoir at Londolozi Private Game Reserve going to be funded by the WWF Nedbank Green Trust?

THE WWF Nedbank Green Trust is funding Conservation Outcomes a KwaZulu Natal based non profit organisation focused on biodiversity conservation to develop the game meat protocol and demonstration projects in partnership with game reserves and the retails industry.

“As a bank focused on positively building society, Nedbank regards this as a catalytic project. We are funding it over three years to test and develop the market for wild-sourced game meat in a manner that is consistent with biodiversity conservation” says Yvonne Verrall, Marketing Manager for Nedbank’s Green Affinity.

“We are focusing on extensive private, state and community owned game reserves, including Kruger National Park and the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation Area. In northern KwaZulu Natal we are working with reserves such as Phinda, Somkhanda and Babanango to determine the viability of setting up an abattoir in Phinda in partnership with neighbouring reserves” says Greg Martindale, Director of Conservation Outcomes

MORE INFORMATION IS AVAILABLE HERE:

https://www.wwf.org.za/our_story/our_history/

https://www.wwf.org.za/wwf_nedbank_gt_funding.cfm

https://www.nedbank.co.za/content/nedbank/desktop/gt/en/news/nedbankstories/affinity-projects/2019/growth-of-south-african-game-meat.html

https://www.wwf.org.za/?29382/Growth-of-South-African-game-meat-industry

In response to the proposed abattoir at Londolozi some of the WAPFSA members started a petition:

https://www.thepetitionsite.com/260/466/021/stop-londolozi-abattoir-for-the-processing-of-wild-animals-near-kruger-south-africa/

The petition has subsequently been suspended whilst representative of the EMS Foundation consult with their legal representatives Cullinan and Associates.


MARINE OIL POLLUTION Preparedness, Response and Cooperation Draft Bill 2019

WAPFSA has expressed our concern about the seeming lack of infrastructure to prevent and manage emergencies and possible incidents at sea, as well as illegal activities and pollution.

We welcome the Draft Bill as a tool to better protect our biodiversity and environment for the sake of ecosystems and resources for our future generations.

PLEASE READ THE FULL DOCUMENT

THE WILDLIFE ANIMAL PROTECTION FORUM SOUTH AFRICA RESPONDS TO MINISTER CREECY’S HIGH LEVEL ADVISORY PANEL APPOINTMENTS

25TH NOVEMBER 2019

EXCERPTS FROM THE LETTER ADDRESSED TO:

THE DIRECTOR GENERAL MS NOSIPHO NGCABA AND MINISTER BARBARA CREECY

FROM: THE WILDLIFE ANIMAL PROTECTION FORUM SOUTH AFRICA

THE LETTER IS TITLED: ADVISORY COMMITTEE TO REVIEW POLICIES, LEGISLATION AND PRACTICES ON MATTERS RELATED TO THE MANAGEMENT, BREEDING, HUNTING, TRADE AND HANDLING OF ELEPHANT, LION, LEOPARD AND RHINOCEROS AND RELATED MATTERS

“We are disappointed and deeply concerned with the selection of the Committee as well as the Department’s lack of transparency and clarity in respect of the selection thereof.

The Committee is predominantly composed of persons directly involved in the use and exploitation of wildlife including hunting, breeding, testing, killing and otherwise. Such persons have deeply vested commercial/financial and other interests in the outcome of the Committee’s deliberations. We are of the view that such persons cannot be considered to be independent of these interests and will thus attempt to influence the outcome in accordance with such.”

THE FULL LETTER IS AVAILABLE ON THE LINK POSTED

THE WILDLIFE ANIMAL PROTECTION FORUM SOUTH AFRICA

FOUNDING DOCUMENT

As Founding Members of the Wildlife Animal Protection Forum South Africa (WAPFSA) we, the undersigned South African organisations, resolve to adopt this statement of purpose, objects, and operational principles.

BACKGROUND

The WAPFSA was initiated in 2017 as a collaborative network representing the interests of wild animals and as a vehicle to engage government on animal protection, ethical and compassionate conservation, welfare and biodiversity loss issues amongst others.

OUR WORK

The WAPFSA provides a framework for cooperation and networking among non-governmental organisations in South Africa. Through such cooperation, animal protection, environmental, conservation, and other like-minded organisations can present, to the various government agencies and other relevant bodies, a strong, clear and informed common position.

Our collaboration involves, but is not limited to, the following main categories: advocacy, outreach, research, enforcement, investigation, monitoring, litigation and training.

PLEASE DOWNLOAD THE DOCUMENT TO READ THE ENTIRE FOUNDING STATEMENT

OCTOPUS TRAPS IN FALSE BAY MINISTER CREECY’S SECOND RESPONSE TO WAPFSA

“The Department has a mandate to implement the Marine Living Resources Act, which confers the responsibility for ensuring utilisation of marine living resources and protection of the broader ecosystems in which such utilisation may take place, while also achieving social and economic goals, as was re-iterated in the judgement in the West Coast rock lobster case referred to. As a public trustee, I am bound to uphold this legislation and to ensure that the objectives of the Marine Living Resources Act are achieved in a balanced manner”.

Minister Barbara Creecy Department of the Environment, Forestry and Fisheries

WAPFSA ENDORSES THE SOUTHERN AFRICA TOURISM SERVICES ASSOCIATION GUIDELINES FOR CAPTIVE WILDLIFE ATTRACTIONS AND ACTIVITIES

On the 31st October 2019 the South African tourism association, SATSA, launched a guide to Evaluation Captive Wildlife Attractions and Activities to help navigate the complex issues surrounding the captive wildlife sector.

The guide document contains an interactive tool for easy decision making, through eight simple questions, on interactions through a “decision tree”.

The guide and tool are aimed at four key groups: foreign and local visitors interacting with animals, buyers such as destination management companies, tour operators internationally and locally as well as industry representatives such as associations, industry bodies and government among others.

The tool will allow these groups to assess animal interaction operations and make informed decisions to support ethically sound and responsible operators in South Africa.

WAPFSA welcomes this initiative and congratulates SATSA on this comprehensive document. This is a very useful tool by which to evaluate and select animal interaction activities in tourism.

“The voice against tourism experiences that include animal interactions has grown louder and has impacted on how South Africa is being perceived as a tourism destination” says Keira Powers, Chairperson of the Southern African Tourism Services Association (SATSA) Animal Interaction Committee.