eNewsletter September – October
IWMC (Integrating Wildlife, Markets and Conservation)
Three agenda-setting initiatives from IWMC
Integrating Wildlife, Markets and Conservation (IWMC) is excited to report today the launch of its website, which hosts Conservation Influencers, an innovative directory of 60 animal activist, environmental and ecological NGOs. The new website also provides news about Wildlife Betrayed, a forthcoming book containing a 21st-century manifesto for conservation and the consumptive use of wildlife.
The new website offers fresh stories, analysis and videos. In future we shall invite guest columnists to speak out, as well as add more NGOs and philanthropic bodies to Conservation Influencers. We shall also provide frequent news reports.
Please feel free to let us know what you think of the website and Conservation Influencers. We’d also welcome your suggestions for what we should cover in the future and what tools and resources we might further develop.
Trois initiatives à l’ordre du jour de l’IWMC
Intégration de la Vie animale, des Marchés et de la Conservation (Integrating Wildlife, Markets and Conservation) (IWMC) est heureux d’annoncer aujourd’hui le lancement de son nouveau site Web, qui héberge les Influenceurs de Conservation, un répertoire innovant de 60 militants de la cause pour les animaux, ONGs environnementales et écologiques. Ce nouveau site Web signale, de plus, la parution éventuelle d’un livre « Wildlife Betrayed », un manifeste du 21ème siècle pour la conservation et l’utilisation durable de la faune.
Le nouveau site Web offre également de nouveaux récits, analyses et vidéos. Des chroniqueurs seront invités à s’exprimer, et davantage d’ONGs et d’organismes philanthropiques seront ajoutés aux Influenceurs de Conservation. Nous publierons aussi des reportages.
N’hésitez pas à nous faire savoir ce que vous pensez du site Web et des Influenceurs de Conservation.
Nous serons également heureux de recevoir vos suggestions sur ce que nous pourrions couvrir à l’avenir et sur les outils et ressources à développer.
Eugène Lapointe, IWMC President
Hands off all sharks?
At CITES’ CoP-18, the assembled NGOs made sharks their iconic species of choice, knocking elephants off their number one spot. The question is, why did an ugly predator displace photogenic and speciously friendly elephants as the primary campaign pillar of animal rights activists?
Read more to find out why…
If you enjoyed reading this…
If you’ve enjoyed reading this newsletter, please share it with your friends and colleagues and help promote IWMC’s mission of integrating wildlife, markets & conservation.
TGA Newsletter – Africa has the right to use its own wildlife wisely and sustainably for the benefit of its people
Despite the animal rightist’s best efforts to deprive Africans of their sovereign right to wisely and sustainably manage their own wildlife affairs, you found your voice through collaboration with the True Green Alliance. And together we resisted all the animal rightists’ pernicious endeavours.
And during the continuous onslaught on the scientific management of our wildlife, many of you stood by us and renewed your TGA membership. We thank you for that.
When the chips were down and attacks on the sustainable use of our wildlife was most fierce, when the concept of sustainable-use conservation was under the greatest pressure, you, our audience and our readers, stepped up to the plate and helped with donations. You kept us going. You saw the value of our work. You recognised the efforts that our team expended on social media and on our external broadcasts into the public domain. And you demonstrated that:
- You believed in the power of truth over lies
- You valued honesty over corruption and
- You chose hope over despair.
- You believed in the power of truth over lies
- You valued honesty over corruption and
- You chose hope over despair.
Despite the many vicious verbal attacks directed at our directorate and at our cause, by phone and by way of a continuous flow of vitriolic emails, no one gave up hope. We had many death threats but nobody buckled. We ignored the diatribe. And we prevailed because we believed it was the right thing to do.
So far, many people have again signed up as members of the True Green Alliance. By doing that they helped to fund our efforts. And remember, this war is being waged every day. Our social media posts and video interviews constantly expose the corruption and the lies that are being told about us and about our cause. Unfortunately, there is still so much more to uncover. The good news is that we have the knowledge and the passion to continue with our resistance for a long time to come. Indeed, for as long as it takes! But it would be easier if more of our readers were to join us and if more became members and paid our membership fees. Every extra penny counts and those pennies make it possible for us to continue fighting the good fight.
Today, we’re asking those of you who have not yet joined us to do so soon and to encourage those of your friends and relatives who have not done so yet, to become a TGA warrior, too. Our fight is a just cause. If we don’t fight for what is right, if we don’t squash the animal rights movement into the ground, it may yet happen that, in your grandchildren’s lifetime, wildlife in Africa will become extinct. And the only way to save our wild animals is by applying the best of wildlife management practices, which includes the sustainable-use of what remains of our wildlife heritage, for the benefit of Africa’s people.
Ron Thomson and team
Important Perspective – Joint Statement on Captive Bred Lion Shooting
The TRUE GREEN ALLIANCE (TGA)
To put this important newsletter into perspective:
The TGA is not a hunting association of any kind. We do, however, support hunting as a management tool for the sustainable-use harvesting of South Africa’s renewable wild living resources. We do not consider wildlife to be a ‘sacred cow’, but a WILD ‘product of the land’ that equates to domesticated animals and cultivated crops being TAME (or DOMESTIC) ‘products of the land’. And we sincerely believe that all ‘products of the land’ (wild and domestic) should be used wisely and sustainably for the benefit of mankind.
The TGA notes that six international hunting organizations (CIC, DSC, Rowland Ward, IPHA, OPHAA and APHA) have just released a newsletter which encourages ‘other’ hunting associations to join them in a group which they call: “United Against Captive Bred Lion Shootings”. The CIC and DSC – who are the co-signatories of the initial joint statement on the subject of captive bred lion shooting – have observed that: “We would like to thank these (new) organizations for joining as co-signatories, and encourage others who wish to join, to please contact us.”
In their notation: the group jointly states that they:
1. “RECOGNIZE that the practice of shooting lions bred in captivity has otherwise been referred to as “canned lion hunting”, Captive bred lion hunting, or using combinations thereof:
2. AGREE that whatever the terminology used; and whether legal or illegal; the practice is not consistent with the definition of responsible, sustainable, fair chase hunting;
3. HIGHLIGHT that the practice is contrary to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Resolution WCC-2016-RES-013 on “Terminating the hunting of captive-bred lions (Panthera leo) and other predators and captive breeding for commercial, non-conservation purposes’;
4. EMPHASIZE (they say) that the shooting of lions bred in captivity damages the reputation of all hunters;
5. CALL ON any Governments that allow the legal shooting of lions bred in captivity, to consider the wider implications to responsible, sustainable, fair-chase hunting;
6. COMMIT to discouraging members of signatory organizations from engaging in the practice of shooting lions that have been bred in captivity;
The signatories agree that this statement may be amended, as further information becomes available, should the signatories jointly agree on and sign the revised text”.
Ron Thomson CEO – TGA
IWMC WORLD CONSERVATION TRUST eNewsletter July – August 2020
Rewilding unites city folk and destroys the countryside
Last month, 51.9 percent of Swiss voters backed a call by WWF, Pro Natura and Fondation Franz Weber to reject the “Swiss Federal Law on Hunting and the Protection of Indigenous Mammals and Birds” (JSG). This narrow ‘no vote’, which focused on the right to kill wild wolves that have returned to the mountains, leaves farmers with little choice but to deal with predators the way their forefathers did.
Rewilding has been a disaster in Europe. In Holland it created “a barren wasteland of starving animals.” But such catastrophes did not deter the UK prime minister Boris Johnson from committing recently to ‘restoring to nature’ 30 per cent of Britain by 2030. He might change his mind if he studied the Swiss experience. Rewilding in Switzerland ignited human wildlife conflicts for the first time since the 19th Century. Switzerland’s thirty-year experiment with rewilding brought back to life the dormant hostility between the cities and the countryside. The nation is now split into two hostile camps, fighting a culture war.
In 1995 the first wolf appeared in the mountains. Now there are approximately 100 in eight packs. Hungry wild wolves do what comes naturally in Switzerland. For want of other prey or in search of fun, they hunt sheep and goats. They leave behind bloodied corpses for Swiss children to stumble over. And these same wolves are getting ever closer to villages. One nearly made it into the city of Zurich. But it was pulverized by a train before it had a chance to send the city’s animal lovers rushing to their bunkers.
Mountain folk feel betrayed by the cities. Commenting on the rejection of the JSG, Stefan Engler, a member of parliament for a mountainous region, said: “One has to ask now if we want in the mountains a pure wilderness. Or also human beings, which are living and working there.” While Jacques Bourgeois, Member of the National Council of Switzerland, accused the alliance of animal protection organizations in Switzerland of running a ‘lying campaign’ that played on fear and which resonated in cities. And he’s right.
Campaigners launched a fake news campaign. They told the public that the JSG was a ‘shooting law’. I wish it had been. But it was nothing of the sort. Under the existing act, which the JSG sought to replace, somebody has to demonstrate that an animal caused significant damage in order to obtain a hunting permit. A permit to kill a wolf can only be granted after proving that the individual in question killed more than 25 sheep in one month or 35 in four months.
Had the JSG been accepted, obtaining a hunting permit would have been slightly easier; proving that an animal displayed conspicuous behaviour, which damages or endangers people and/or livestock. Yet, significantly, the wolf would still have been a protected species in Switzerland. Farmers would still have had to build fences and protect wolves.
The JSG infuriated the animal rights mob because under the existing legislation, the Federal Office for the Environment (BAFU), based in Bern, issues hunting permits. Conveniently, the capital city of Bern and BAFU are controlled by militant Greens. Whenever the requested proof to justify killing a wolf is manifest, vegan-anemics manipulate public emotions and lobby their soul-mates at BAFU.
The fact is, the likes of WWF fought hard to defend the status quo because the JSG switched decision-making from BAFU to the cantons; of which there are 26. And the alliance of animal protection organizations in Switzerland knew that in the cantons with the most wolves, voters are mostly immune to animal rights propaganda. Here’s two examples. In the hunt- and gun-loving canton of Graubünden, 67.29 percent of voters backed the new law. In Valais, the canton with the Matterhorn, 68.60 percent voted yes. That is what was really behind their objection to the new law.
The JSG was, of course, a better law than the one that now stands. But a more enlightened and progressive approach would have sought to persuade the Swiss electorate to abandon rewilding. It would have been a shoot to kill – wolf, bear, beaver and mute swan etc. – law; one that defended threatened communities, agriculture, forestry and fisheries.
Even in the relatively sparsely populated Alps, neither wild bears nor wolves should be given legal protection. These dangerous animals should be confined to circuses (unfortunately that is not possible in Switzerland because of the animal rights lobby) and zoos (thankfully still allowed), along with tigers, lions and elephants. In an ideal world, the modern Swiss would have legislated to exterminate on sight all wild wolves and bears that the rewilders welcomed back.
Rewilding is a global problem
Useful support for my opposition to rewilding comes from IWMC Board Member Jim Beers, a retired US Fish & Wildlife Service Wildlife Biologist, Special Agent, Refuge Manager, Wetlands Biologist, and Congressional Fellow.
Jim writes, “the wolves in the Lower 48 States and Europe have been encouraged in settled landscapes where the game animals are but part of a buffet of livestock, dogs and humans complete with their garbage.” He adds that predators supplement declining game animals with dogs and kids (and adults as available). This has to be stopped.
I love how Jim rails against unjust laws, which misappropriate the enforcement of “science” (read voodoo conservation: oops, biodiversity protection) to put in prison farmers for merely defending their communities and livelihoods against predators. More of Jim Beers’ wonderful defense of commonsense can be read here: https://bcinteriorsci.ca/in-the-news/dear-colorado-why-you-should-reject-re-introducing-and-protecting-wolves
The IWMC World Conservation Trust is an international organization that promotes the Sustainable Use as a conservation mechanism, the protection of the sovereign rights of independent nations and the respect of diverse cultures and traditions.
It is a non-profit body supported by donations.
Eugene Lapointe is President and Founder of IWMC World Conservation Trust
Former Secretary General of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) from 1982 to 1990
For further information, contact E. Lapointe by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
CHASA Submission To DEA High Level Panel
CHASA Submission as invited in Notice 221 of 2020
WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT PORTFOLIO REPORT
By Neville van Lelyveld
• Bi-monthly Anti-Poaching Collaboration Network meetings were held.
• Quarterly Wildlife Management meetings held with President and CEO.
• 10th May – we did a Protected Game species release in Dargle – this is a direct result of the relationship built through the Anti- Poaching Collaborative Network programme.
• 11th May – we attended the WESSA AGM in Himeville, this gave us an opportunity to meet up with old contacts and to network with some new ones.
• Numerous successful anti-poaching operations have taken place this year which resulted in approximately 8 times more conviction than last year.
• The Anti-Poaching Collaboration Network has gone through a tremendous growth which has resulting in 2 restructures during this year.
• The focus of the team was on legislation and updating and education thereof as this was identified as a weakness in the past. This program is well on its way.
• 15th April Brian Jones (SACAN) and I met with the Honoury Officers executive to create a better working relationship the HO’s.
• 14th Of April Brian Jones, Debbie Preston and I did a presentation evening at the Balgowan Conservancy addressing the various illegal hunting activities going on in this area.
• 17th Of April Darlene Bond (PMB HO group chairperson), Brian Jones and I met at the SACAN office to address the various cases of illegal hunting with dogs in and around the PMB area.
• 30th of July the SACAN team and I did presentations to the Creighton Farmer’s Union and Magma security in Creighton. This was a very successful and fruitful day. This was also done at the request of the Creighton Farmer’s Union due to the high level of illegal dog hunting taking place in the area.
• 30th July – EWT, SACAN, FreeMe and the Local Lions River DCO did a presentation evening at the Barn Owl in Curry’s Post. This was by far the most successful presentation evening to date for the team, Thanks to Rachel, some 70 odd farmers turned out for a supper and an hour meeting which went on for some 3 hours. As a direct result of this evening the team has gained a pristine air field and aircraft hangar facility which is critical for the team.
• 26th September I met with SACAN concerning a full cross function team training day to be held in Dargle in the near future. The aim of this training is to unite the team and to sort out any glitches that may arise during the actual operations. This will set the platform for the way forward in the future as how a typical illegal hunting operation will be conducted. In saying this we now need maximum commitment from all role players/stakeholders.
• On the 6th of October I met with the Lion’s River DCO after our APCN meeting. The aim of this meeting was to pick up on some of the projects that we as KZN Hunters had started with the previous DCO, Kim Gillings – these include DCAC work and youth development.
• On the 5th of October we did a follow up on the success of a DCAC activity in the Midlands which was done by the Midlands branch members. We also did a follow up with a Dargle area farmer who has been experiencing a large amount of illegal dog hunting on his farm and we managed to give him some feedback as to the work that had taken place in the background. He was very pleased with the efforts of the team and no longer felt at a lost end and helpless as a result.
• On the 9th of October I was privileged to showcase the APCN at the annual Fountain Hill Estate Symposium.
• The DCAC programme has gained momentum this last year with several requests from KZN Wildlife, HO’s and private land owners. I do believe that this is a direct result of the partnerships and bonds that have been established through the APCN. But it is critical that this work be done and seen as a conservation activity and not just another free hunt.
• Many thanks to our whole team inclusive of my dedicated wife Hayley for making this year the tremendous success that it has been. This level of success can only be achieved through “tunnel vision, passion and team work” to quote Brian Jones. I would like to single out Brian Jones and Wade Whitehead (FreeMe) in particular for being there for me and to help me steer this amazing network of passionate team players I have had lean on both of these gents at times for support and a opinion on many matters.
Rewilding The Lost Wilderness
I would like to introduce you to the unique Cape conservation coffee-table book Rewilding The Lost Wilderness: Green Heritage of the Forgotten Cape, with a Foreword by Dr Ian Player.
In the 317 pages of Rewilding The Lost Wilderness: Green Heritage of the Forgotten Cape we explore the natural heritage, wildlife and wilderness of the Northern, Western and Eastern Cape. The story involves the vegetation and wildlife that occurred and still occur within the Cape, and the human impact on the natural environment through the ages. The conclusion of the story explores the reserves and farms that have dedicated themselves to restoring the original cape ecosystem and all its diversity, and how they implemented the restoration.
Ten years in the making, Rewilding The Lost Wilderness: Green Heritage of the Forgotten Cape has been the result of an intense pursuit of restoration of the Cape of South Africa. After much eager anticipation I can finally say that Rewilding The Lost Wilderness is officially available with the inspirational story of Rewilding the Cape. This story of a quintessential African wilderness that has been lost and regained is a story of hope and restoration! A tale of hope for all the wilderness areas that has been lost, and an example for all wilderness areas that is still to be regained! Rewilding The Lost Wilderness is much anticipated among the international rewilding community for whom the book will serve as a practical example for the recreation of lost wilderness areas, especially so in parts of Europe and North America.
2021 Oribi Survey
The link for online returns is: (https://forms.gle/RRf5pGLwKPip87RF8). The form can easily be completed from any smart device. No additional sign in would be required.
TGA – Overpopulation of Elephant
TGA’s Daily Dose of Common Sense.
‘WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT’ is NOT what the man-in-the-street calls “conservation”. The word ‘conservation’, and the practice of ‘conservation’, is something quite different to ‘wildlife management’. They are not synonyms of the same thing. The word ‘conservation’ has a very specific meaning in the science of wildlife management. Conservation is not a generalisation that covers a multitude of sins as most people seem to believe today. Nevertheless, it is pertinent to point out that because man does not have (or rather, does not ‘use’,) a common wildlife vocabulary, confusion reigns in the wildlife arena for this very reason. When different people ascribe different meanings to the words, to the concepts and to the practices of wildlife management, they speak to each other in foreign languages. And, as long as that state of affairs pertains, there is no possibility that mankind can ever reach responsible consensus in any public wildlife management debate.
Today, I want to explain, in fundamental terms and in layman’s language, just what ‘wildlife management” is all about.
Very simply, “wildlife management” is the action that man takes to achieve a man-desired objective. There is nothing ‘natural’ about wildlife management. It is:-
- Man conceived;
- Man designed;
- Man implemented;
- Man manipulated; and
- Man is the principle beneficiary.
Why is man the principle beneficiary? Man is the principle beneficiary because it is man’s objective that is achieved!
People who do not understand these fundamental wildlife management principles should not be allowed to enter the wildlife management debate. They do more harm than good to the public perception of all that which represents the science of wildlife management. They are persona non-grata people. In simple terms I identify them as being CODE RED. Which means, beware of them, they are dangerous people and they are poison to everything that they touch and or talk about.
TGA’s Daily Dose of Common Sense.
One does not have to be a highly qualified scientist to understand the basic principles of wildlife management. Wildlife management is actually more common sense than anything else.
One of the simplest and most important things to understand about wildlife management is that it can only be applied to individual animal populations, one at a time. It cannot be applied to an animal species as a whole.
Definition: SPECIES: A species can be defined as a group of animals or plants that share the same physical (and, in the case of animals, behavioural) characteristics and which, when they breed, produce fertile off-spring with the same physical (and in the case of animals, behavioural) characteristics.
Definition: POPULATION: A population can be defined as a group of animals of the same species the individuals of which interact with each other on a daily basis and they breed ONLY with other animals in the same group.
Example: The African elephant (the species) occur in 150 different populations right across the length and breadth of the species’ range, from the mountains of Ethiopia in the north to flat and arid Botswana and Namibia in the south. They live in a wide variety of very different habitats: from swamplands and evergreen montane forests, to grassland savannahs and deciduous woodlands, and in very dry deserts.
Interaction with man: Elephant interaction with man is very different wherever man and elephants come together. No two elephant/man circumstance is the same.
Management: Each population of elephants, therefore, lives in a totally different natural environment to any other elephant population, and their interaction with man is equally variable. Each population’s management needs, therefore, is unique to itself. And this same criterion applies to any and all other animal species.
All these factors combined, therefore, make it impossible for man to manage ‘a species’. Realistically, a species can only be managed at the individual population level. So why bother to even talk about ‘endangered species’. That terminology only confuses the man-in-the street. And, in point of fact, from a wildlife management point of view, there is no such thing as an “an endangered species”.
TGA’s Daily Dose of Common Sense.
Natural ecosystem living resource management involves manipulating the relationship between the soil, the plants and the animals to achieve a state of environmental homeostasis between and within these three factors; and the achievement of the ultimate goal in a national park, the maintenance of biological diversity.
On private land, management can involve manipulating the relationship between the soil, the plants and the animals to establish the optimum production of one species – e.g. the white rhinoceros; and the production of rhino horn for the overseas market.
Both these objectives are valid objectives in the practice of wildlife management.
Man’s wildlife management priorities are:
Number ONE priority – THE SOIL
Man’s Number One priority concerns the protection and wise use of the soil – because without soil no plants can grow, and without plants there would be no animals.
Number TWO priority – THE PLANTS
Man’s second wildlife management priority is for the protection and wise use of plants. Plants appear second in importance on the priority list – BEFORE ANIMALS – because plants are the only energy (food) producers on planet earth. Therefore, if there were no plants (I reiterate) there would be no animals.
Number THREE priority – THE ANIMALS
Animals appear LAST on this list of priority considerations not because animals are UN-IMPORTANT but because they are LESS-Important than either the soil or the PLANTS.
When trying to grasp the importance of the relevant levels of management in a wildlife debate, the general public would do well to remember this hierarchical list of management priorities. The soil is more important than the plants and the plants are more important than the elephants. So, if by not culling an elephant population you will damage the habitat, do you cull the elephants? YES YOU DO!
Community Leaders Network – letter to Connecticut Legislature
As Chairperson of the Community Leaders Network, which represents millions of rural people in 9 countries in Southern Africa, the majority of whom live below the poverty line, I am urgently appealing to you to assist us by preventing the undermining of our globally recognized conservation efforts and our basic human right to sustainably use the natural resources on which our communities’ livelihoods depend.
WRSA News / Nuus November 2020
After more than 7 months, the tourism industry breathes a massive sigh of relief as international travel restrictions to South Africa have finally been lifted. Na meer as 7 maande, slaak die toerismebedryf ’n groot sug van verligting omdat die internasionale reisbeperking na Suid-Afrika uiteindelik opgehef is.
British Govt Warned Against Causing African Wildlife Conservation Crisis
The Press Release was published in The Chronicle on 24 July 2020 – 00:07, in the section Opinion & Analysis
Observers worldwide are appalled by the proposed British Government anti-trophy hunting imports Bill.
Open letter to World Health Organisation and United Nations Environment Programme
Dear Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and Ms. Inger Andersen,
Achim Steiner, Administrator UNDP
Elizabeth M. Mrema, Acting Executive Secretary, Convention on Biological Diversity, CBD
Qu Dongyu, Director General, Food and Agriculture Organization, FAO
Ivonne Higuero, CITES Secretary General
Grethel Aguilar, Acting Director General, IUCN
Michelle Bachelet, UN Human Rights Commissioner
David Boyd, UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Environment
David Nabarro, Special Envoy to WHO DG on COVID-19
COVID-19: Holistic, equitable solutions are required to improve human and planetary health and reduce zoonotic pandemic risks
We, the undersigned individuals and organisations, commend the work the UN is doing to tackle the COVID-19 disease pandemic and its socio-economic consequences 1. The recently released UN Framework for the immediate socio-economic response to COVID-19 outlines the importance of shared responsibility and integration 2. However, more action is required, particularly on the environmental front. Urgent, far-reaching steps must be taken to reduce zoonotic pandemic risks and secure a better future not only for humans but also for nature, which underpins the health and well-being of all humanity 3. It is vital that any actions taken are appropriate and lead to socially just outcomes which contribute to – not detract from – the development of economically resilient livelihoods for those hundreds of millions of the world’s most vulnerable who depend on wild resources for their survival.
COVID-19 is inflicting unprecedented social and economic costs on countries and communities, with the poor and vulnerable hardest hit. The virus’s suspected links with a Chinese ‘wet market’ has led to calls to ban wet markets and restrict or end the trade and consumption – for medicines or food – of wildlife 4. However, indiscriminate bans and restrictions risk being inequitable and ineffective. Wet markets, wildlife trade and consumption, and disease risks are all complex subjects. Wet markets (not all of which sell wild meat) provide invaluable food security; billions of people worldwide trade or consume wild meat and rely on wildlife use for livelihoods, while diseases are transmitted from livestock as well as wildlife.
There is an urgent need to tackle wildlife trade that is illegal, unsustainable or carries major risks to human health, biodiversity or animal welfare. Certain high-risk activities may rightfully necessitate targeted and/or time-bound bans, or severe restrictions (and rigorous enforcement), but it is vital that any such action is specific, appropriate, and equitable. If those targeted bans or severe restrictions are implemented, they should be accompanied by the meaningful provision of suitable alternative livelihoods for people affected. Furthermore, long-term success will require a holistic approach, including tackling issues like land conversion and industrial agriculture, which are major drivers of pandemic risk as well as biodiversity loss 5. Any actions must be undertaken in a targeted and socially just manner with due regard for human rights.
We recommend that the WHO and UNEP use their individual and collective expertise to:
1. Work with the appropriate experts to identify areas and activities where wildlife trade and/or use poses high risks to zoonotic disease transmission, biodiversity conservation or welfare, and strengthen or develop tailored, locally appropriate strategies, with suitably improved regulation and enforcement, along the entire supply chain to reduce those risks;
2. Initiate a coordinated response to the risks of pandemic emergence and biodiversity loss through the UN Environmental Management Group to raise intergovernmental awareness of the important role biodiversity plays in underpinning human health, the health risks associated with habitat destruction, and the value of sustainable use of biological resources (in line with Article 1 of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and guided by its 2004 Addis Ababa Principles);
3. Build partnerships across WHO, UNEP and other key stakeholders including IUCN, FAO and WTO, to explore how health considerations could be better aligned with trade regulations within the CITES framework, in clear recognition that biodiversity loss, unregulated trade and human health are inextricably linked;
4. Effectively engage with the CBD’s ongoing process to develop the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework and associated resource mobilization strategy to ensure biodiversity is valued, conserved, restored and wisely used;
5. Support science- and human-rights-based, equitable approaches to conservation, in order to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, and deliver comprehensive improvements to both human and planetary health.
The reasons for our recommendations are set out in Annexe A, below the signatory list. 300 of the signatories (160 organisational signatories and 140 individual signatories) are shown below – more on online and will continue to be collected:
1. !Khaodi // Hoas Conservancy Kunene South, Namibia
2. 1StopBorneo Wildlife, Brunei
3. African Wildlife Foundation (AWF), Kenya/International
4. Afrivet, South Africa
5. Ambrosisus A. Community Forest Kavango West, Namibia
6. Anabeb Conservancy Kunene, Namibia
7. Asocaiman, Colombia
8. Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, USA
9. Association OKANI, Cameroon
10. Aube Novelle pour la Femme et le Development (AFND), Democratic Republic of the Congo
11. Balepye Community, South Africa
12. Botswana Wildlife Producers Association (BWPA), Botswana
13. Cameroon Youth Biodiversity Network, Cameroon
14. CAMPFIRE Association, Zimbabwe
15. CIC – International Council for Game and Wildlife Conservation, US/international
16. Climate Change Coalition Group, Zimbabwe
17. COMFAUNA (Comunidad de Manejo de Fauna Silvestre en Amazonía y América Latina, Latin America
18. Conservation Alliance International, Ghana
19. Conservation Alliance Sierra Leone, Sierra Leone
20. Conservation Frontlines Foundation, USA/South Africa
21. Conservation Outcomes, South Africa
22. Conservation Through Public Health, Uganda
23. Conservation Visions, Canada
24. Creative Conservation Solutions, Australia
25. Cuma CF Communioty Forest Kavango West, Namibia
26. Custodians of Professional Hunting and Conservation-SA, South Africa
27. Dallas Safari Club, USA
28. Earthmind, Switzerland
29. Eco Ranger Group, South Africa
30. EcoHealth Alliance, USA
31. Ecolife Expeditions, South Africa
32. Ehirovipuka Conservancy – Kunene Region, Namibia
33. Endangered Wildlife Trust, South Africa
34. Environmental Conservation Trust of Uganda (ECOTRUST), Uganda
35. Environmental Foundation for Africa, Sierra Leone
36. Epupa Conservancy Kunene, Namibia
37. Erongo Regional Conservancy Association (North West), Namibia
38. Etanga Conservancy Kunene, Namibia
39. European Federation for Hunting and Conservation (FACE), Belgium
40. European Sustainable Use Group, UK
41. Farm Africa, UK/International
42. Fondation Camerounaise Terre Vivante (FCTV), Cameroon
43. Frankfurt Zoological Society, Germany/International
44. FundAmazonia, Peru
45. Fur Institute of Canada (FIC), Canada
46. Game Ranchers Forum, South Africa
47. Gcatjinga Community Forest Kavango West, Namibia
48. Gender CC Woman for Climate Justice, South Africa
49. Geo Wild Consult, South Africa
50. George Mukoya Conservancy Kavango East, Namibia
51. Giraffe Conservation Foundation, Namibia/International
52. Gonarezhou Conservation Trust, Zimbabwe
53. Greenhood Nepal, Nepal
54. Guide Outfitting Association of British Columbia, Canada
55. Hans Kanyinga Community Forest Kavango West, Namibia
56. Houston Safari Club, USA
57. Huab Conservancy ( Kunene Region), Namibia
58. Integrated Rural Development and Nature Conservation (IRDNC) , Namibia
59. Interdisciplinary Centre for Conservation Science and Oxford Martin Programme on the Illegal Wildlife Trade, UK
60. International Fur Federation, UK/International
61. Ipumbu Ya Tshilongo ( North Central ), Namibia
62. IUCN Group Sustainable Use and Management of Ecosystems (SUME), International
63. IUCN SSC Bear Specialist Group, International
64. IUCN SSC Caprinae Specialist Group, International
65. IUCN SSC-CEESP Sustainable Use and Livelihoods Specialist Group (SULi), International
66. IUCN Wildlife Health Specialist Group, International
67. Wildlife Producers Association of Zambia, Zambia
68. IWMC World Conservation Trust, Switzerland/International
69. Jamma International, UK/International
70. Japan Falconiformes Center, Japan
71. Kahenge Community Forest Kavango West, Namibia
72. Kapinga Kabwalye Community Forest Kavango West, Namibia
73. Kasungu Wildlife Conservation for Community Development, Malawi
74. Katope Community Forest Kavango West, Namibia
75. Keystone Foundation, India
76. Kunene Conservancy Association (KRCCA), Namibia
77. Kunene River Conservancy Kunene, Namibia
78. Likwaterera Community Forest Kavango West, Namibia
79. Lion Landscapes, Kenya
80. Mahenye Community Committee, Zimbabwe
81. Malagasy Youth Biodiversity Network, Madagascar
82. Marienfluss Conservancy Kunene, Namibia
83. Masoka CAMPFIRE Association, Zimbabwe
84. Masoka Community, Zimbabwe
85. Maurisi Nekaro Conservancy Kavango East, Namibia
86. Mbeyo Community Forest Kavango West, Namibia
87. Mbire Rural District Council, Zimbabwe
88. Muduva Nyangana Conservancy (Kavango East), Namibia
89. Namibia Nature Foundation (NNF), Namibia
90. Namibian Chamber of Environment, Namibia
91. Namibian Organisation of CBNRM Support Organisations (NACSO), Namibia
92. Ncamacoro Community Forest Kavango West, Namibia
93. Ncaute Community Forest Kavango West, Namibia
94. Ngamiland Council of Non-Governmental Organisations (NCONGO), Botswana
95. Norwegian Pet Trade Association, Norway
96. Okandundumba Conservancy Kunene, Namibia
97. Okanguati Conservancy Kunene, Namibia
98. Okatjandjakozomenje Conservancy Kunene, Namibia
99. Okondjombo Conservancy Kunene, Namibia
100. Okongoro Conservancy Kunene, Namibia
101. Ombazu Conservancy Kunene, Namibia
102. Ombombo masitu Conservancy Kunene, Namibia
103. Ombujokanguindi Conservancy Kunene, Namibia
104. Ongongo Conservancy Kunene, Namibia
105. Ornamental Fish International (OFI), The Netherlands
106. Orupembe Conservancy Kunene, Namibia
107. Orupupa Conservancy Kunene, Namibia
108. Otjambangu Conservancy Kunene, Namibia
109. Otji West Conservancy Kunene, Namibia
110. Otjikondavirongo Conservancy Kunene, Namibia
111. Otjikongo Conservancy Kunene, Namibia
112. Otjimboyo Conservancy ( Erongo Region), Namibia
113. Otjindjerese Conservancy Kunene, Namibia
114. Otjitanda Conservancy Kunene, Namibia
115. Otjombande Conservancy Kunene, Namibia
116. Otuzemba Conservancy Kunene, Namibia
117. Ozondundu Conservancy Kunene, Namibia
118. People for Pangolins, International
119. Puros Conservancy Kunene, Namibia
120. Resource Africa South Africa, South Africa
121. Resource Africa UK, UK
122. Ruaha Carnivore Project, Tanzania
123. Safari Club International Foundation, USA
124. Sanitatis Conservancy Kunene, Namibia
125. Save the Rhino Trust Namibia, Namibia
126. Sesfontein Conservancy Kunene, Namibia
127. Sheya Shuushona Conservancy ( North Central Regions), Namibia
128. Sidinda Community Comiittee, Zimbabwe
129. Sikunga Conservancy ( Zambezi Region), Namibia
130. Sorris Sorris Conservancy ( Southern Kunene), Namibia
131. South African Hunters and Game Conservation Association, South Africa
132. South African Wingshooters Association , South Africa
133. South African Youth Biodiversity Network, South Africa
134. South Asia Reptile Conservation Alliance, International
135. Southern African Wildlife Management Association, South Africa
136. Stellenbosch University, South Africa
137. Support for Women in Agriculture and Environment (SWAGEN), Uganda
138. Sustainable Users Network (SUN), UK
139. Tanzania Natural Resources Forum (TNRF), Tanzania
140. The Conservation Coalition Botswana (TCCB), Botswana
141. The Development Institute, Ghana
142. The Game Rangers Association of Africa (GRAA), South Africa
143. The Wildlife Society, USA
144. Torra Conservancy Kunene South, Namibia
145. Tsiseb Conservancy (Erongo Region), Namibia
146. Uibasen Conservancy (Southern Kunene) , Namibia
147. Uukwaludhi Conservancy (North Central Regions), Namibia
148. Wild Africa Conservation, Niger
149. Wild Sheep Foundation, USA
150. Wildlife & Environment Society of Southern Africa, South Africa
151. Wildlife Environmental Society of Malawi, Malawi
152. Wildlife Producers Association, South Africa
153. Wildlife Producers Association of Zambia, Zambia
154. Wildlife Ranching South Africa, South Africa
155. WILDOCEANS, South Africa
156. Women Environmental Programme (WEP), Nigeria
157. Women in Conservation ( Kunene Region), Namibia
158. Working Dogs for Conservation, USA
159. Zambia CBNRM Association, Zambia
160. Zambia National Community Resources Board Association, Zambia
1. Vanessa Adams, University of Tasmania, Australia
2. Steve Alexander, Conservation and Wildlife Fund, Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe
3. Benjamin Allen, University of Southern Queensland, Australia
4. Shaista Andleeb, Wuhan University of Technology, China
5. Peter Apps, Botswana Predator Conservation, Botswana
6. Michael Archer, University of New South Wales (UNSW), Australia
7. Nathan J Bennett, IUCN CEESP/SSC SULi Central Asia, Canada
8. Duan Biggs, Griffith University, Australia
9. Bernd Blossey, Cornell University, USA
10. Hollie Booth, ICCS, University of Oxford, UK
11. Adri Kitshoff Botha, Wildlife Ranching South Africa, South Africa
12. Peadar Brehony, Department of Geography, University of Cambridge, UK
13. Peter Bridgewater, Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development, Netherlands
14. Stephanie Brittain, Interdisciplinary Centre for Conservation Science, UK
15. Christopher Brown, Namibian Chamber of Environment, Namibia
16. Francois du Toit, Project Africa, Sweden
17. Donna-Maree Cawthorn, University of Mpumalanga, South Africa
18. Dan Challender, University of Oxford, UK
19. Philippe Chardonnet, IUCN SSC Antelope Specialist Group, France
20. Brian Child, University of Florida, USA
21. Simon Clulow, Macquarie University, Australia
22. John Clulow, University of Newcastle, Australia
23. Peter Coals GR, WildCRU, University of Oxford, UK
24. Bernard Coetzee, Global Change Institute, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa
25. Calvin Cottar, Cottars Wildlife Conservation Trust, Kenya
26. Alayne Cotterill, WildCRU, University of Oxford, UK
27. Marianne Courouble, International Biodiversity Consulting, France
28. Jeremy Cusack, Universidad Mayor, Santiago, Chile
29. Harriet Davies-Mostert, Endangered Wildlife Trust, South Africa
30. Emiel de Lange, School of Geosciences, University of Edinburgh, UK
31. Amy Dickman, WildCRU, University of Oxford, UK
32. Egil Droge, WildCRU, University of Oxford, UK
33. Morné du Plessis, WWF South Africa, South Africa
34. Byron du Preez, Jesus College, University of Oxford, UK
35. Holly Dublin, IUCN SULi, Kenya
36. Sarah Durant, Institute of Zoology, Zoological Society of London, UK
37. John E. Fa, CIFOR, UK
38. Christo Fabricius, Nelson Mandela University, South Africa and member of IUCN Commission on Environmental, Economic and Social Policy (CEESP), South Africa
39. Ruth Feber, WildCRU, University of Oxford, UK
40. Marco Festa-Bianchet, Canada
41. Svein A. Fosså, Norwegian Pet Trade Association (NZB), Norway
42. Edson Gandiwa, Chinhoyi University of Technology, Zimbabwe
43. Tuqa Jirmo, Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, Kenya
44. Jenny A. Glikman, San Diego Zoo, USA
45. Paul Goriup, NatureBureau, UK
46. Andrea Griffin , University of Newcastle , Australia
47. Sunetra Gupta, University of Oxford, UK
48. John Hanks, Independent Environmental Consultant, South Africa
49. Darragh Hare, Department of Natural Resources, Cornell University, USA
50. Alasdair Harris, Blue Ventures, UK
51. Adam Hart, University of Gloucestershire, UK
52. Matt Hayward, University of Newcastle, Australia
53. Juan Herrero, Universidad de Zaragoza, Spain
54. Rachel Hoffmann, University of Cambridge, UK
55. Hiromasa Igota, Rakuno Gakuen University, Japan
56. Wei JI, IUCN SULi, China
57. Paul Johnson, University of Oxford, UK
58. Khalil Karimov, IUCN CEESP/SSC SULi, Tajikistan
59. Graham I.H. Kerley, Nelson Mandela University, South Africa
60. Ambika Khatiwada, National Trust for Nature Conservation, Nepal
61. Rebecca Klein, Cheetah Conservation Botswana, Botswana
62. Emmanuel Koro, Environmental journalist, South Africa
63. Paige Lee, IUCN SSC Pangolin Specialist Group, UK
64. Gabriela Lichtenstein, National Research Council (CONICET), Argentina
65. Mohsin Lee Likoniwalla, Animal Care Centre, Nairobi, Kenya
66. Xin Liu, China Northeast Forestry University, China
67. Ewan Macdonald, Saïd Business School, University of Oxford, UK
68. Ian Macdonald, University of Cape Town, South Africa
69. Duncan MacFadyen, Oppenheimer Generations, South Africa
70. Masego Madzawmuse, IUCN CEESP and Southern Africa Trust, South Africa
71. Prince Dipati Maenetja, Balepye Community, South Africa
72. Reuben Malema, BE Products (Pty) Ltd, South Africa
73. Stefan Michel, IUCN Sustainable Use and Livelihoods Specialist Group (SULi), Germany
74. EJ Milner-Gulland, University of Oxford, UK
75. Nick Mitchell, Zoological Society of London, UK
76. Axel Moehrenschlager, Centre for Conservation Research, Calgary Zoological Society, Canada
77. Vik Mohan, Blue Ventures, UK
78. Tom Moorhouse, University of Oxford, UK
79. Paola Mosig Reidl, CONABIO, Mexico
80. Victor K. Muposhi, Chinhoyi University of Technology, Zimbabwe
81. Aibat Muzbay, Kazakhstan Wildlife Foundation, Kazakhstan
82. Naveen Namboothri, Dakshin Foundation, India
83. Eric Djomo Nana, Agricultural Research Institute for Development (IRAD), Cameroon
84. Robert Nasi, CIFOR, Indonesia
85. Daniel Natusch, EPIC Biodiversity, Australia and France
86. Helen Newing, ICCS, University of Oxford, UK
87. Germain Ngandjui, Cameroon Canada Biodiversity Conservation Association, Cameroon
88. Andrew Norton, International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), UK
89. Christine Nyangweso, Kenya Wildlife Service, Kenya
90. Mike O’Brien, Fur Institute of Canada, Canada
91. Alegria Olmedo, University of Oxford, UK
92. Meera Anna Oommen, Dakshin Foundation, India
93. Josep Oriol, Okavango Capital, Kenya
94. Norman Owen-Smith, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa
95. Elisa Panjang, University of Cardiff, UK
96. Despina Symons Pirovolidou, European Bureau for Conservation and Development (EBCD), Belgium
97. Gail Potgieter, Felines Communication and Conservation Consultants, Namibia
98. Madhu Ramnath, NTFP Exchange Programme India, India
99. David Roberts, Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology, UK
100. Tim Roberts , University of Newcastle , UK
101. Dilys Roe, IUCN Sustainable Use and Livelihoods Specialist Group and International Institute for Environment and Development, UK
102. Ramón Peréz Gil Salcido, FAUNUM, Mexico
103. Lilian Sales, University of Campinas (UNICAMP), Brazil
104. Chris Sandbrook, University of Cambridge, UK
105. Ed Sayer, North Luangwa Conservation Programme, Zambia
106. Charlotte Searle, WildCRU, Universty of Oxford, UK
107. Catherine E. Semcer, Property and Environment Research Center, USA
108. Orynbassar Shaimukhanbetov, Kazakhstan Wildlife Foundation, Kazakhstan
109. Kartik Shanker, Indian Institute of Science and Dakshin Foundation, India
110. Pasang Dolma Sherpa, Center for Indigenous Peoples’ Research and Development (CIPRED), Nepal
111. Janusz Sielicki, Falcon Society, Poland
112. Keith Somerville, Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology, UK
113. Anna Spenceley, IUCN WCPA Tourism and Protected Areas Specialist Group, UK
114. Oliver Springate-Baginski, School of Development Studies, University of East Anglia, UK
115. Aarthi Sridhar, Dakshin Foundation, India
116. Don Stacey, Masebe Ranch, Zambia
117. Mark Stanley-Price, WildCRU, University of Oxford, UK
118. Paolo Strampelli, WildCRU, University of Oxford, UK
119.Cedric Thibaut Kamogne Tagne, Fondation Camerounaise de la terre Vivante (FCTV), Cameroon
120. Simo Talla, University of Yaoundé, Cameroon
121. Francis Nchembi Tarla, Central African Bushmeat Action Group (CABAG), Cameroon
122. Taye Teferi , IUCN Sustainable Use and Livelihoods Specialist Group (SULi), International
123. Scott Trageser, The Biodiversity Group, USA
124. Piotr Tryjanowski, Poznan University of Life Sciences, Poland
125. Michael ’t Sas-Rolfes, University of Oxford, UK
126. Dino Tumazos, COLCOM, Zimbabwe
127. Andrew van Heerden , The Conservation Imperative, South Africa
128. Nathalie VanVliet, Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), France
129. Diogo Veríssimo, ICCS, University of Oxford, UK
130. Karl Vernes, University of New England, Australia
131. Frederick J Verreynne, Botswana Wildlife Producers Association, Botswana
132. Jako Volschenk, University of Stellenbosch Business School, South Africa
133. Francis Vorhies, African Leadership University, Rwanda
134. Gretchen Walters, Institute of Geography and Sustainability, University of Lausanne, Switzerland
135. Dominic Whitmee, The Ornamental Aquatic Trade Association (OATA), UK
136. Matthew Wijers, WildCRU, University of Oxford, UK
137. Jane Wiltshire, Fellow of the African Wildlife Economics Institute of the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa
138. James Wood, University of Cambridge, UK
139. Shibao Wu, South China Normal University, China
140. Mary Wykstra, Action for Cheetahs in Kenya, Kenya
1. Pandemic risk reduction measures must not exacerbate poverty and inequality
Since its inception, the WHO has defined health as ‘a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being’. Health is inextricably linked to nature, which underpins our physical and mental wellbeing, and to poverty. The COVID-19 pandemic is far more than an immediate health crisis: it is also unleashing unprecedented economic and social chaos. It is currently estimated to be costing the global economy US$1 trillion in 2020 alone 6, with the International Labour Organisation predicting cutbacks equivalent to nearly 200 million full-time workers in just three months 7. Marginalised and vulnerable communities are likely to bear the brunt of these impacts, with UNDP warning that nearly half the jobs in Africa could be lost 8. Worldwide, nearly half a billion more people could be pushed into poverty 9, with the crisis disproportionately affecting women, leading to wide-ranging social impacts including human rights abuses 10 11. Over half the global population could be living in poverty after the pandemic, with particularly severe impacts in sub-Saharan Africa, North Africa and the Middle East.
As the COVID-19 crisis will deepen poverty and damage health, potentially for generations, it is unconscionable that measures aimed at preventing future pandemics should compound this by further disadvantaging the world’s most vulnerable people, for instance through indiscriminate bans on food markets, or unnecessary restrictions on wildlife trade. Millions of poorer households, especially in rural areas, are particularly dependent upon using wild resources for livelihoods and as insurance against economic shocks, whilst in urban areas millions more rely upon affordable produce from wet markets for food security. Over a billion people worldwide, including Indigenous Peoples and local communities (IPLCs), rely on using and trading wildlife, by selling and consuming wild meat, fish, insects and plants, extracting timber and forest products, and many other activities. Many of these activities are legal, regulated and essential for livelihoods, and pose no significant threat to human health or biodiversity – indeed, when well regulated, wildlife trade can actually be beneficial for conservation. Indiscriminate restrictions risk unnecessarily exacerbating poverty and inequality without commensurate benefits.
2. Wildlife trade must be addressed in a targeted, tailored and effective way
Wildlife trade, particularly in ‘wet markets’, has become a central part of the discourse around COVID-19, and it has been suggested that banning wet markets, and banning or severely restricting wildlife trade and consumption, could reduce future pandemic risks 12. However, these are complex topics. Wet markets underpin the informal food systems on which millions of urban and rural people depend. They sell a range of fresh produce: fruit and vegetables, fish, livestock and, sometimes, wildlife. Wildlife trade and consumption encompasses a wide variety of species, both common and rare, and a vast array of uses including food, medicines, clothing, textiles, pets and ornaments. Its drivers and dynamics are complex and varied. Even if wildlife trade bans were just focused on food, it is important to note that zoonotic diseases also emerge from domestic species. Focusing on Asian markets also ignores the fact that billions of people, in both the Global North and South, consume wild meat from both common and ‘exotic’ species. Furthermore, current proposals to ban all wildlife trade undermine both the spirit and efficacy of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), which seeks to regulate trade for the benefit of species conservation and enable trade that is legal, sustainable, and supportive of conservation and human livelihoods. It would be more productive for the WHO, UNEP and other stakeholders to work with CITES to align human health considerations with the objectives of the Convention.
Suggestions that pandemics could be avoided by imposing a global ban on wildlife markets or indiscriminately restricting wildlife trade are simplistic and risk enormous unintended consequences, including criminalising and further impoverishing countless people. Externally-imposed bans can drive trade underground and enmesh it with other organised criminal activity, as occurred after the 2013-2016 Ebola outbreak13. In that situation, regulations would become harder to enforce, with lower standards of hygiene and animal welfare, and higher likelihood of zoonotic disease outbreak. Furthermore, demand may remain if a legal supply is suddenly removed (especially if captive breeding is also banned, as some recommend), risking a rise in black market prices and increased incentives for poaching. This could accelerate the exploitation and extinction of species in the wild. The risks associated with indiscriminate trade restrictions highlight the need for targeted regulation and enforcement tailored to each specific situation, at the appropriate level. This will increase the likelihood of achieving desired outcomes for conservation, health and animal welfare, while reducing unintended consequences for people and wildlife.
3. Holistic, far-sighted solutions are required to improve human and planetary health
This pandemic is a wake-up call with regard to our destructive relationship with nature. Wildlife trade is only one of many factors that must be addressed to reduce zoonotic disease outbreaks, secure biodiversity and improve human and planetary health. Habitat destruction and industrial agriculture play key roles in increasing zoonotic disease transmission from wildlife to humans 14, as people and their livestock come into ever closer proximity to wild species and pathogens. In addition to catastrophic ecological impacts, the destruction of nature, in conjunction with climate change, has long-term, devastating impacts on human physical and mental health.
The role of domestic species in zoonotic outbreaks such as pandemic influenza must also be considered. Disease risks and welfare in farmed-animal supply chains should also be examined robustly, with risk reduction strategies targeted at the highest-risk species, whether domestic or wild. More widely, holistic approaches should be developed which look beyond pandemics, such as limiting antibiotic use in livestock to reduce risks of antibiotic resistance, which poses a major danger to human health. Business as usual cannot continue, and the WHO and UNEP are well positioned to encourage governments and other agencies to fully recognise the interconnected nature of planetary and human health. There is a need for a ‘One Health’15 coordinated approach both across the UN, including the WHO, UNEP, UNDP and the FAO, and beyond with other relevant organisations including the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) and the World Trade Organisation (WTO). This synergistic approach would help develop and deliver a better, more equitable future for humans and the ecosystems which underpin our society.
The response to COVID-19 has demonstrated that transformational action is possible if governments and citizens are convinced that the risks of inaction outweigh the costs. We urgently need similar transformational action to safeguard nature, delivering critical long-term benefits for both human and planetary health as part of our response to COVID-19. Robust, long-lasting measures must be taken to safeguard and adequately fund the protection of nature and invest in science- and rights-based conservation and restoration. Devastating as the COVID-19 pandemic is, recovery from this crisis provides an unparalleled moment to create a better and more sustainable future. We must change our relationship with nature and develop appropriate strategies to equitably and sustainably manage the biodiversity upon which so many livelihoods depend. Changes must be inclusive, well-considered and socially and economically just, and every care must be taken not to exacerbate poverty and amplify existing inequalities.
The sustainable and inclusive management of nature is recognised throughout the UN as a key element to achieving poverty reduction objectives and meeting the Sustainable Development Goals. Indiscriminate restrictions on wildlife trade will devastate livelihoods, cause major harm to human health and well-being and undermine human rights, without significant benefits for biodiversity or health. Strategic, equitable, coordinated and holistic approaches are more likely to reduce pandemic risks, achieve a better future for both human and planetary health, and should be a core component of future WHO/UNEP recommendations.
Conservation Newsroom & Library
In January we published the inaugural issues of Conservation Frontlines E-Magazine (https://www.conservationfrontlines.org/current-issue/) and Frontline Dispatches Newsletter (https://www.conservationfrontlines.org/wp-content/uploads/frontlines_pdf/frontline_01-19.pdf). Since February 1st, Frontline Dispatches #2 are available.
At the Conservation Frontlines Newsroom (www.conservationfrontlines.org) we aim to encourage positive exchanges between non-hunting and hunting conservationists, spark conversations, shift perspectives, and inspire new ideas.
We believe that hunters and non-hunters alike need ‘greater independence of thought’. Cooperation in broad-based conservation coalitions to perpetuate wild landscapes and wildlife is essential. Our authors discuss and formulate coherent sets of values, processes and promises – and hunters can learn more about, and non-hunters can discover, the wide-ranging facets of hunting and its important conservation linkages.
Our extensive library section with continuously updated content of scientific papers and topical media articles from around the world provides users with ample background material.
Go to https://www.conservationfrontlines.org/subscribe/ to sign on. We don’t have paywalls and it’s free of charge.
If you like what we are doing, please spread the word in your networks.
The Wildlife Ranger Challenge – By Rangers, For Rangers
The Wildlife Ranger Challenge – By Rangers, For Rangers
On 18 September, the Project Rhino K9-Unit will join more than 150 Ranger teams from 20 countries in the 2021 Wildlife Ranger Challenge – an epic 21 km half-marathon across varied terrain, in full kit, carrying a 22 kg backpack. The Challenge aims to generate crucial funding to support thousands of Africa’s rangers across Africa.
Africa’s Rangers are stretched to capacity. They continue to experience drastic cuts in resources due to the devastating economic impact of Covid-19, whilst poaching pressures mount daily. Communities who rely on eco-tourism are struggling, while many conservation areas cannot maintain their work as revenues from tourism have disappeared. Pressures on Africa’s protected areas threaten to compromise decades of development and conservation success.
That is why on 18 September 2021, Ranger teams from 80 protected areas in 20 African countries are uniting around the Wildlife Ranger Challenge. Teams are running the race with one goal; to raise money to help thousands of their colleagues, enabling them to support themselves and their communities and to protect African wildlife such as elephants, pangolins, rhinos, and lion. Watch the official campaign video online.
You can help! Join the K9-Unit in supporting Africa’s Rangers by making a direct donation to the Ranger Fund, or join the Ranger Challenge virtually, wherever you are. Now is the time to go the extra mile to support our Rangers!
Join the 2021 Wildlife Ranger Challenge Virtually
Do you have what it takes to be a Ranger? Join the teams as they prepare for the race in a series of physical and mental challenges throughout August and then lace-up your shoes and join the Challenge virtually on 18 September. You can walk or run 5, 10 or 21 km and each step taken is a move toward bringing Ranger teams back up to pre-Covid-19 capacity. Register online at https://wildliferangerchallenge.org/challenge-2021/
Your Gift Amplified
The Scheinberg Relief Fund has generously committed a $1.35 million matching fund to support the vital work that Rangers do. Your donation through the Just Giving donation portal will be 100% matched, doubling your impact. From this matched funding, an additional 25% goes to the K9-Unit and the remaining 75% is shared among African rangers, where the need is greatest.
To find out more, or to support the cause, please go to our Just Giving page.
Follow our progress on social media and help spread the message using #ForWildlifeRangers
The Wildlife Ranger Challenge is made possible by Tusk, NATURAL STATE, the Game Rangers Association of Africa, The Thin Green Line, and the International Ranger Foundation.
About the Project Rhino K9-Unit
The K9-team includes both tracking and detection dogs, protecting 20+ conservation areas, including one of the largest remaining populations of black and white rhino in the world. When the team is not training for the Wildlife Ranger Challenge, you will find them supporting local law enforcement, helping to locate missing wildlife, removing snares and conducting patrols of 6 – 8 km daily. The team is on call 24-hours a day and has been instrumental in a number of significant arrests related to poaching and illegal wildlife products, narcotics, illegal weapons and high value stolen goods.
Last year, the Project Rhino K9-team placed an incredible first in South Africa, and fourth overall.
Images by Angie Raab, Boots on the Ground Photograph
Black Rhinoceros is in a Dangerous Situation in Kruger
I wish to comment on the predicament in which the black rhino finds itself in South Africa today. The black rhino also faces extinction but not so much from poachers as from bad management practices by the SANParks staff in Kruger National Park; and by the Natal Parks Board people in Kwa-Zulu-Natal. Few people understand the ecological circumstances of the black rhino and the powers-that-be have put their noses in the air and they walked away whenever I have tried to advise them about the species. The MAIN danger that the black rhino finds itself in, therefore, is as a consequence of the authorities’ total lack of understanding about the species’ ecological affairs – if they really care at all! And this applies to the situation both in Kruger National Park AND in the protected areas of KwaZulu Natal.
The black rhino – unlike the white rhino – is a solitary and a nocturnal animal. How many people know those two important facts? Classically, the black rhino roams about and feeds all night long and (in healthy populations living in healthy habitats) individual black rhinos go to sleep during the day in thicket cover. During the hours of 9 a.m. (or before) and 3 p.m. (or after) they are sound asleep. During the hours of daylight they are normally only seen by tourists in the early mornings and late afternoons. They CAN live in open country with light woody vegetation but THEN only in very small numbers. In normal healthy populations living in healthy habitats , black rhino population densities are directly linked to the degree of thick cover available to them in their habitats. So THAT is the first important link between black rhinos and thicket cover.
Black rhinos, during the dry season, normally live no more than 5 kilometres from permanent water. Except that mother black rhinos with tiny babies at foot become wanderers for at least the first six months of their babies’ lives. And during that ‘weaning’ period (for want of a better name) the cows visit different waterholes on different nights but only after they have hidden their babies away (ALONE) in thick bush – up to two kilometres distant from the water. In other words mother black rhinos with small babies don’t take them down to the water with them. When they go to drink they visit the waterholes alone. Why? Because it is at the waterholes where the predators lurk! And, after they have drunk their fill, the mother black rhinos return to where they have hidden their babies. They then reunite with their babies, and they start their nocturnal wanderings again.
And baby rhinos are tiny. They are easy meat for a pack of hyenas!
Spotted hyenas are the black rhino’s most dangerous predators. And, when a pack of hyenas find a mother black rhino with a tiny calf at foot they get into the mode of “relentless pursuit” until they have caught and killed the baby. ONE hyena, alone, is enough to eliminate a tiny black rhino calf. Two or more hyenas in a pack will most certainly take-out the calf in a single night. And, solitary mothers – and remember ALL black rhino mothers are solitary individuals – have great difficulty protecting their calves from these voracious predators especially when they are hunting in a pack. This is why in game reserves where spotted hyenas are present, it is not a good idea to dehorn female black rhinos (ostensibly to protect them from poachers). Black rhino cows that have been dehorned CANNOT defend their babies against hyena attack.
I would go so far as to suggest that in game reserves that are designed to “preserve” black rhinos that spotted hyena populations should be drastically reduced in number; or even eliminated altogether. In other words, game reserve managers should be able to choose their priority considerations.
Within this total scenario excessive elephant populations are a major source of danger to black rhinos, too – because they reduce habitats-comprising-thick-cover to bare open veld. The excessive numbers of elephants in Kruger National Park, for example (now reported to be 34 000 – ref Dr Salomon Joubert) when the game reserve’s elephant carrying capacity is just a fraction of that number. The sustainable elephant carrying capacity of KNP was only circa.3500 in the 1950s when habitats were still healthy – (i.e. prior to 1960) (ref. Ron Thomson). Since then the ever growing number of elephants have reduced the woodland habitats in Kruger National Parks by “more than” 95 percent (ref. SANParks). Vast areas of heavy woody cover (thickets etc), therefore, have been reduced to open habitat. This must have, and will continue, to cause DRASTIC reduction in black rhino population densities. The consequent elimination of the thicket cover that black rhino cows need to hide their calves at night (when the mother rhinos go down to the waterholes to drink) will ALSO ensure continuing black rhino calf mortality – due entirely to hyena attack. And this state of affairs is being duplicated in the Umfolosi-Hluhluwe game reserve complex in Kwa-Zulu-Natal too.
The blame lies squarely at the feet of our government wildlife management authorities! And the public should call on them to answer for this crime against our wildlife heritage. It is about time, too, that government forces these wildlife authorities to reduce their elephant population numbers to their sustainable carrying capacity levels. The maintenance of massively excess elephant populations in all our major wildlife sanctuaries are part and parcel of this VERY BAD wildlife management scenario.
The public cannot sit back any longer and do nothing! If we do, we will be equally culpable.
Ron Thomson. CEO – TGA
Related article Daily Maverick
The Endangered Species Fallacy
There is a fundamental flaw in the way that man conceives of wildlife and how it should be managed. And, although we have brought this matter to the fore many times, nobody identifies with the argument. Has the whole world really gone so crazy? Indeed, the flaw it is so fundamental that if mankind would only start thinking about this matter – and if man “gets it right” – many, many factors that currently confuse the issue of wildlife management will suddenly become comprehensible – except for the fact that wildlife management in Africa is currently an international political pawn.
Let’s tell the world the truth: that there is no such thing as “an endangered species”. And, if they can get ‘this’ right everybody will come to understand that the “American Endangered Species Act” (ESA) is based on a false premise; and so is CITES (The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species). Why am I so persistent about this issue? Because this false concept is the basis for a whole host of legal misrepresentations which make no biological sense at all. The ESA – by its very existence – assumes that species can be managed at the species level. And that patently is not true.
Species can be defined as a group of animals or plants that share the same physical and (in the case of animals) behavioral characteristics and which, when they breed, produce fertile off-spring with the same physical and behavioral characteristics. But you cannot ‘manage’ a species. This is why the American Endangered Species Act cannot ‘manage’ any of the wild animal species that it lists. The ESA, therefore, is a fallacious piece of legislation which cannot function in the way it is supposed to function. So it should be discarded!
Species organise themselves into ‘populations’ – which are groups of animals of the same species that are in daily contact with each other; and which breed ONLY with other animals in the same group. Individuals in every population live in the same habitat, but they occupy quite separate ‘home ranges’ within that habitat and those home ranges constantly overlap. A ‘home range’ is that part of the habitat in which an individual animal lives (24/7) (permanently), and from which it obtains its daily survival needs – for air, water, food and shelter. Different habitats have different carrying capacities for the same animal species; and those carrying capacities vary considerably from population to population; and from habitat to habitat.
When a particular population’s numbers are in excess of the habitat’s carrying capacity for that animal species – the population is called an ‘excessive’ in animal management jargon – and the habitat will be grossly over-utilised; it will be constantly degrading; and loss of species diversity in the sanctuary will be progressive and significant. The animal management strategy required for that population will be ‘animal population reduction’. And, the first remedial action must be to reduce the population in number, in the initial phase, by no less than 50 percent. The long term management goal will be to reduce the animal numbers to a level that are less than the habitat carrying capacity for that habitat; and to keep the numbers at that low level by annual culling. Such a management activity will be necessary to create conditions that will allow the greatly damaged habitat to recover.
When the animal population number is at (or below) the habitat carrying capacity, and it is expanding in an healthy manner, the annual management programme will warrant an annual cull that is equivalent to the population’s annual increment. So, if the population is increasing in size at the rate of 10 percent per annum, it would be wise to reduce the population numbers, every year, by 10 percent – to keep the population number stable. This kind of management is called ‘conservation management’ – sustainable-wise-use management – because the ‘take-off’ can be carried out in several ways: by capture and removal; by annual culling; by annual hunting; and/or by annual harvesting-for-meat. The main objective of such an effort, however, is to reduce the population in number, by 10 percent , every year; and to makes sure that the numbers will not ever grow in number to the extent that the population becomes ‘excessive’. Conservation management is all about habitat protection and habitat management.
The third and last management regime is called ‘preservation management’ – protection from all harm management – which is applied to populations of animals that exist in numbers that are far below the habitat carrying capacities for that species.
I make mention of all these management strategies because nobody else seems to understand them. The US Fish and Wildlife Service, for example, recently banned the importation of elephant hunting trophies to the USA from Zimbabwe because (the USFWS said) Zimbabwe could not guarantee its annual hunting quota out of the Hwange National Park area. This, when Hwange National Park is carrying TWENTY TIMES (20 X) too many elephants. Hwange is currently carrying (depending on where the first rains of the season fall) between 35 000 and 80 000 elephants (Average 50 000), when the carrying capacity (in 1960 – when the habitats were then still reasonably healthy) was determined to be only 2 500. And today, after 70 years of elephant abuse of the Hwange habitats, the sustainable elephant carrying capacity is probably, now, as low as 1000. The US Fish and Wildlife Service – because it still thinks it can manage elephants at the species level – therefore, is greatly in error.
I wonder if common sense will ever return to this equation?
With kind regards
CEO: True Green Alliance
Technical Guide Vervet Monkey 29-06-2020
Vervet monkeys, Cercopithecus aethiops, are an endemic species to KwaZulu Natal; occurring in a wide range of habitats throughout the province. Monkeys have adapted well to humans and have in many cases proliferated as a result of human behaviour or practises.
Minister of Biodiversity and Conservation Meeting 26 Mar 2020
The meeting was attended by Adri, Dries and myself for HAWASA. Minister Barbra Creecy and DDG for Biodiversity & Conservation, Shonisani Munzhedzi for the department. The scheduled time was one hour.