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To: Barbara Dallas Creecy, Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment

Hands Off Our Wildlife!!

The recent attempts to push through the National Biodiversity Economy Strategy (NBES) without proper consultation and transparency are not only alarming but also deeply concerning for the future of South Africa's wildlife and the integrity of our democratic process. This strategy, outlined in Government notice number 3537, Government Gazette No 48785, jeopardizes the well-being of our wildlife and undermines the foundation of our nation's future.

The NBES policy, designed to exploit South African wildlife for commercial gain, has been shrouded in secrecy, with inadequate opportunities for public input. The brief 14-day comment period, later extended by another 14 days due to public pressure, is insufficient for meaningful engagement on a policy with such far-reaching consequences. This lack of transparency and accessibility raises serious questions about the intentions behind the NBES policy. Interested in sharing your comments? Please use these email addresses: [email protected] and [email protected] to send a resounding NO to this outrageous NBES strategy! What is more, the email addresses provided for submitting comments were inaccurate, hindering the participation of concerned parties

Section 24 of our constitution requires that reasonable legislative and other measures be put in place to ensure that the environment is protected for the benefit of present and future generations, including through promoting conservation and securing sustainable development and use of natural resources. We therefore demand for the following:

1. Rejection of the National Biodiversity Economy Strategy policy in its entirety.
2. Adequate time and opportunity for public consultation on any future policies affecting our natural heritage.
3. Transparency in the policymaking process, including accurate contact information for submitting comments.
4. Strengthening of wildlife protection measures and enforcement of existing laws to combat poaching and exploitation.
5. Prioritization of conservation over commercial interests in managing our biodiversity.

We refuse to stand idly by as our natural heritage is jeopardized for short-term gains. It is imperative that we protect our wildlife for the benefit of present and future generations. We urge the government to listen to the voices of its citizens and take immediate action to safeguard our precious biodiversity.

No consultation, no permission, HANDS OFF OUR WILDLIFE!!!..

Why is this important?

Operation Phakhisa biodiversity lab 2016, a High Level Panel (HLP), recommended wildlife ranching for both commercial and industrial use. Who was on this panel? On 21st April 2021, this panel recommended that the department re-contextualize the National Biodiversity Economy Strategy and fully leverage the value of our iconic species as an important selling point for South Africa, and prioritize photo-tourism and hunting. Maybe that doesn’t sound too bad, until you look in-depth at what industrialization and commercial farming means.
Interesting to note that since the ‘Operation Phakhisa biodiversity lab in 2013’, rhino poaching has skyrocketed, on average 1000 rhinos per year. These past few years, the numbers have gone down, not because Government and state/provincial parks are doing their jobs, but because our rhino population numbers have declined drastically over the past decade.

To make matters worse, the government currently manages all state and provincial game reserves. These game reserves have been poorly mismanaged over the years and many are implicated in some form of corruption. If the state has failed to manage our state and provincial reserves over the years, how do they propose to successfully manage 34 million hectares? They can’t, they aren’t capable. The majority of state owned reserves’ wildlife populations are decreasing due to mismanagement and poaching. Fencing is not checked and there are incidents of human-wildlife conflict where wildlife is euthanized due to poorly maintained fencing. If the government can’t manage what it currently oversees, how do they intend to manage 34 million hectares??

Corruption and mismanagement have plagued every single government owned sector in our economy, and every industry has been exposed to blatant government abuse. Without ethical and independent consultation on the National Biodiversity Economy Strategy policy, this policy will be abused by the elite or selected handful of beneficiaries.

Hunting, the CON in conservation, is not sustainable as only the species in its prime is targeted for a trophy, thus eliminating the genes to be passed down to the next generation. Hunting does not benefit a rural community, the only person who benefits is the hunting outfitter/rancher. Hunting is seasonal therefore employment is temporary. Communities, if they’re fortunate enough may see only 2% of the profits, if any, after a hunt. The fallacy that meat is given to the community is also false, most of the time a butchery van is ready to harvest what the trophy hunter has killed and to sell in a fancy suburban butchery. On rare occasions, the community may get the scraps that the hunter or butchery don’t want, otherwise it’s left to rot under the African sun. Trophy hunting does not support Rangers, it only supports Rangers on the Hunting outfitters’ land or property. Just like a store has a security guard protecting his assets from being stolen, so does a Hunting outfitter.

Hunting also opens the system up to abuse as wildlife from protected wildlife areas are lured into hunting concessions to be hunted.

Don't forget to share your comments here: [email protected] and [email protected] to send a resounding NO to this outrageous NBES strategy!

Photocredit: Ben Wallace photography


2024-04-11 08:59:07 +0200

500 signatures reached

2024-04-05 17:09:58 +0200

100 signatures reached

2024-04-05 14:39:07 +0200

50 signatures reached

2024-04-05 13:16:35 +0200

25 signatures reached

2024-04-05 12:53:42 +0200

10 signatures reached