Expanded Exploitation of Wildlife Strategy – South Africa

Stephen Wiggins Article Leave a Comment

As reported in the Daily Maverick (18 March 2024), the Republic of South Africa Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE) invited submissions regarding the “draft National Biodiversity Economy Strategy (NBES)“ as notified in Government Gazette, No. 50279, dated 8 March 2024.

As well as expanding ‘conservation areas’ the draft NBES envisages the expanded utilisation (exploitation) of wildlife ‘resources’:

“The strategy envisages an increase in the number of Big Five animals available for fair-chase trophy hunting, an expansion of recreational and traditional hunting, wild meat harvesting and fishing, and the increased use of indigenous plants, and of insects for food.

The plan says that until the international sale of ivory and rhino horn is favourable (though it’s unclear why the department thinks this will ever happen), domestic trade could be stimulated.

“For example, health clinics to administer traditional remedies using rhino horn for health tourists from the Far East or ivory carving done locally for sale and export for personal use.””

Not only do some of the draft NBES proposals undermine international conventions banning trade in ivory and rhino horn, but also risks harming South Africa’s reputation still further by going against trends moving away from hunting animals as trophies for commercial gain. The draft NBES expands ‘fair chase’ hunting of the ‘big five’ – including stating “there is potential for additional hunting of leopard in a manner that promotes the thriving of the leopard species in the wild with pointed reduction of poaching” – these ‘hopes’ are not supported by the science (see IWB’s submission, para 1.2).

The draft NBES also encompasses increased utilisation of marine resources (though the proposals are not specific on which marine resources should be targeted).  There is an implied imperative within the draft NBES to include previously marginalised groups in the profiteering from expanded exploitation and the ‘promise’ that some of the funds so raised will indeed fund conservation – which may, or may not materialise in reality (as reported in the misappropriated income from ivory stockpiles in 2008).

The submission deadline is 12 April 2024:

Director-General: Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, attention Mr Khorommbi Matibe, Private Bag X447, Pretoria  0001, by hand to Environment House, 473 Steve Biko Street, Arcadia, Pretoria, 0001, or by e-mail to  [email protected][email protected].

Ref: Government Notice 4492 of 2024 “draft National Biodiversity Economy Strategy“ Government Gazette, No. 50279, Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment (DFFE), dated 8 March 2024


IWB’s Submission – Draft National Biodiversity Economy Strategy, 9 April 2024


Further Reading

Ministerial Task Team Report –  To identify and recommend voluntary exit options and pathways for the captive lion industry,” February 2024 (released to the public April 2024)

The Fate of South Africa’s Captive Lions: Unpacking the Ministerial Task Team Report (youtube.com)

NEW NATIONAL BIODIVERSITY ECONOMY STRATEGY IS A CURATE’S EGG — ONLY GOOD IN PARTS,” Adam Cruise, Daily Maverick, (Conservation Action Trust), 21 April 2024

DOMESTIC IVORY MARKETS MUST NOT BE REOPENED – EPI FOUNDATION,” EnviroNews Nigeria, (Conservation Action Trust), 18 April 2024

Government reveals roadmap to slam brakes on captive lion breeding,” Daily Maverick, 3 April 2024

Cruel and needless — the grim truth about wildlife farming exposed in new report,” Daily Maverick, 1 April 2024

Government trying to slam through plan that will result in massive exploitation of wildlife,” Daily Maverick, 18 March 2024

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