Herewith the WAPFSA submission in its entirety:

WAPFSA remains concerned by the general, seeming lack of appreciation of the enormous challenges involved with the creation of a truly sustainable future. Since the hosting of the Paris Climate Accord in 2015 and CoP 26, the Glasgow Climate Change Summit, we are all now aware of the reality of climate change.

Future environmental conditions will be far more unpredictable and dangerous. The negative effects of climate change will adversely affect human health, wealth, and well-being, this could perversely diminish the political capacity to mitigate the erosion of the ecosystem upon which society depends. The scale of the threat to life is difficult to comprehend even for the well-informed experts. The science upon which these assumptions is based seems indisputable however awareness and the willingness to alter our behaviour is weak.

Without fully appreciating and broadcasting the scale of the problem and the enormity of the solution required, society will fail to achieve even modest sustainability goals. Halting biodiversity loss is nowhere close to the top of any country’s priorities.

Excerpts from the WAPFSA Submission:

WAPFSA commends the efforts of Minister Barbara Creecy, a revision of the current legal framework and the proposal of a New Deal For Wildlife based upon the 2020 recommendations of the High Level Panel of experts for the management of Rhino, Lion, Leopard and Elephant in South Africa. We look forward to witnessing the implementation of these Recommendations, which are linked to the National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Bill, which is tabled for implementation on 2023. The aforementioned Bill was ready to be introduced to Cabinet for approval for publication for comment, but was withheld pending the finalisation of the High-Level Panel of Experts Report. The HLP reviewed policies, legislation and practices on matters relating to the management, breeding, hunting trade and handling of elephant, lion, leopard and rhinoceros and the finalisation of the White Paper on Conservation and Sustainable Use of Biodiversity.

The Minister and her Department are facing complex challenges with the finalisation of a national overreaching policy and the White Paper to include a new legal and administrative framework which is more transparent, enforceable, accountable, includingan overhaul of the current permitting system.

WAPFSA members want to affirm their support of the principles of the re-wildling of the environment of the reintegration of captive wildlife back into the wild, of enhancing wildlife’s chances of survival in the wild, of reversing the domestication and exploitation ofwildlife in captivity and under intensive management.

During several stakeholder meetings, the concept of breeding leopards in captivity was suggested, for the “Sustainable Use” of leopard skin for traditional and cultural usage. This notion is completely against the vision and recommendations of the HLP.

Further Principles contained in the conclusive HLP Recommendations include:

  1. The inclusion of interspecies welfare and wellbeing, in particular, the principles of “One Welfare” and “One Health for the benefit of human and non-human animals.
  2. The halting of commodification of wildlife and wilderness
  3. Efforts to reverse biodiversity losses through the promotion of regenerative practices, including practices to revive the African identity and heritage and the indigenous knowledge consistent with the protection of Nature.
  4. Enhancing the reputation of South Africa as a conservation destination – this will also incentivise consistent externalfunding -through the inclusion of principles of ethics, intrinsic value, sentience.
  5. The inclusion of indigenous knowledge, including its notions of mutuality and respect for Nature and serving Nature.

WAPFSA members firmly believe that whilst the aforementioned legal framework is under revision, trophy hunting quotas should not be issued. The HLP recommended that “Legislative provision must be updated or expanded to ensure responsible regulation and governance” and stressed that National Norms and Standards for Hunting Methods have not been finalised up to date.

For hunting to be sustainable into the future and to continue contributing to conservation, the wildlife economy and the well-being of people, a social licence to operate is required from the general public, not only enabling legislation. Defining a social licence requires understanding the different perceptions of hunting, which are inextricably connected to: practices associated with hunting; the land use classes and associated management practices of hunted populations; its contribution to conservation of the species hunted; and the fair and equitable sharing of associated benefits.

To date there does not seem to be any confirmation of a fair and equitable sharing processes and associated benefits. WAPFSA members strongly suggest that no hunting and export quotas should be issued until this process is completed.