Lions are now livestock in SA

03 December 2019 | Environment

The Operators and Professional Hunting Associations of Africa (OPHAA), which includes Namibia, has expressed concern over South Africa's reclassification of more than 30 species as farm animals.

Lions, cheetahs, rhinos and zebras were among 33 species that became “farm animals” in May this year when the South African government approved an amendment to the Animal Improvement Act (AIA) which governs livestock breeding.

The hunting association issued a statement saying it was troubled by the decision made by South Africa's Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development on the listing of indigenous wildlife game species as landrace breeds in terms of the Animal Improvement Act.

“This listing completely disregards one of the fundamental concepts of a natural world and wildlife as we know it, and will, without a doubt, threaten not only conservation efforts, but also the livelihoods of those who rely on well-managed and ethical hunting practices, as was clearly seen with the captive-bred lion issue in South Africa,” it said.

The association further said that not only was the reputation of South Africa jeopardised, but it also had implications for bans of trophy imports from South Africa and other African countries.

“OPHAA has taken a clear stance against the practice of captive-bred lions, and the shooting of such, as well as the artificial breeding of wild animals for hunting purposes, and where there is no conservation value. Our position on the listing of indigenous species as landrace breeds under the Animal Improvement Act is the same.”

The association said there was no doubt that hunting in general is extremely negatively affected by this practice, and therefore detrimental to all conservation practices.

The association further added that it directly influences the hunting industries of all other African countries negatively, and shows disrespect for other countries' views on conservation through hunting, thereby directly affecting its livelihood and conservation of natural resources.

According to the association the ramifications of this decision by the department of agriculture in South Africa has left the country with yet another obstacle in its way to rebuild its reputation.

“Despite the good conservation efforts of the wildlife sector in South Africa and the Department of Environmental Affairs, Agriculture and Forestry, OPHAA is of the opinion that if South Africa does not make a strong turnaround decision to take the high road in all its conservation efforts, that it might as well accept its total amputation from being a well-respected role player in conservation.”

OPHAA represents professional hunters in Botswana, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.



ELLANIE SMIT

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