OPEN LETTER TO GOVERNMENT REGARDING CAPTIVE CARNIVORE INTERACTIONS

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Lisbeth
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OPEN LETTER TO GOVERNMENT REGARDING CAPTIVE CARNIVORE INTERACTIONS

Post by Lisbeth » Wed May 16, 2018 5:09 pm

BY ENDANGERED WILDLIFE TRUST - 11 MAY 2018 - OPEN LETTER

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11 May 2018
Attention:
Dr Edna Molewa
Minister of Environmental Affairs
Department of Environmental Affairs
Environment House
Cnr. Steve Biko & Soutpansberg Road
Pretoria
South Africa

OPEN LETTER TO DR EDNA MOLEWA, THE MINISTER OF ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS RE CAPTIVE CARNIVORE INTERACTIONS


It is with grave concern that the undersigned organisations, note that yet another person has been seriously injured by a captive carnivore in South Africa. The incident, which took place at Thabazimbi Predator Park in Limpopo at the end of April 2018, is not an isolated incident. Records show that at least 37 similar incidents have occurred since 1996 affecting no less than 40 victims. This figure reflects only those incidents that have been reported in the media and hence there could be more.

We respectfully and urgently request that you take the following information into consideration:

Of the 37 known incidents:

- Forty victims were involved with 28 being injured and 12 killed;
- Fourteen (38%) of the incidents involved captive Cheetahs;
- Twenty two (60%) incidents involved captive Lions;
- One incident involved a captive tiger;
- 92% of the fatalities were due to Lions and 46% of all Lion attacks were fatal;
- These incidents involved 13 adult women, 18 adult men, and nine children, showing that no gender or age group is exempt;
- These incidents are geographically widespread as follows: Limpopo – nine; Eastern Cape – eight, Gauteng – six; North West Province – four; KwaZulu-Natal – four, Western Cape – two, and one unknown.
- These incidents occurred in a variety of ways, with the most common attacks occurring while people were inside the camps with the carnivores (24 incidents). Four incidents involved people being attacked through a fence. On three occasions, the animals had escaped, while on another three occasions victims were inside or on a vehicle. Another three incidents involved the victim trespassing, attack by released captive Cheetahs and one unknown circumstance.

Members of the conservation sector have been expressing concern about the captive facilities where these interactions take place for more than 10 years because:

- They have no conservation value;
- There are no adequate safety regulations in place to protect tourists and facility staff;
- Welfare standards are often compromised or not regulated or monitored, and are further complicated by unclear mandates on welfare between the Department of Environmental Affairs and the Department of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries;
- Links to shooting (‘canned hunting’) of captive Lions and the bone trade are negatively impacting on South Africa’s conservation image.

There are clearly significant risks posed by the interactions between humans and captive carnivores, and it is worrying that despite this, the sector remains ineffectively regulated. There are no regulations governing which carnivores may be kept in captivity, or why; by whom and for what purpose; under which conditions and with what activities related to them. As a result, it is highly probable that the incidences of injury or death as a result of interactions with captive carnivores will continue.

With at least 28 injured people and 12 fatalities, the time has clearly come for legislation to be put in place to end all public interactions with carnivores in South Africa. There is no justifiable rationale for the public to be interacting with carnivores in captivity, risking people’s lives.

We further call on the South African government to institute strict regulations for the management of all carnivores held in captivity that ensure that only qualified, experienced people have access to these animals and that no risks are posed to either human or animal life by unrestricted, unregulated access by all people.

Should the South African government continue to turn a blind eye to this issue, more people will be injured or killed. It is clear that the current system is flawed and a failure to react rapidly to protect people would be negligent.

Signed:

Endangered Wildlife Trust,
CEO, Ms Yolan Friedmann, yolanf@ewt.org.za
Senior Trade Officer, Dr Kelly Marnewick, kellym@ewt.org.za

Blood Lions
Producer, Ms Pippa Hankinson, hancobb@iafrica.com

National Association of Conservancies, Stewardship of SA,
Chairman, Mr John Wesson, jjwesson674@gmail.com

Panthera
Senior Director, Lion & Cheetah Programs, Dr Paul Funston, pfunston@panthera.org

Wild Trust
CEO, Dr Andrew Venter, andrewv@wildtrust.co.za

WildlifeACT
Director, Mr Mark Gerrard, mark@wildlifeact.com
"Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." Nelson Mandela
The desire for equality must never exceed the demands of knowledge

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Lisbeth
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Re: OPEN LETTER TO GOVERNMENT REGARDING CAPTIVE CARNIVORE INTERACTIONS

Post by Lisbeth » Sat Aug 04, 2018 10:54 am

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Mango adds protective voice against the lion cub petting industry

2018-08-03 11:30

The month of August is a time when the country celebrates women whilst also recognising the continuing plight of women in South Africa. For the August edition of their in-flight magazine, Juice, Mango has brought to the fore the difficult circumstances faced by another group of powerful female figures - the lioness.

As one of the largest domestic airlines in South Africa, the airline has officially joined the campaign against cub petting, predator breeding and canned hunting.

Its magazine cover features a powerful image on the front cover of a lioness and her cubs with the caption "her cubs, not yours". Travellers on Mango Airlines will also be able to read a feature article from Blood Lions and Humane Society International - Africa.

"Actions like these really contribute to awareness and change across the country. A huge thank you to the Mango Juice team. This is an important message to other publications who continue to promote cub petting and wildlife interactions - join the global movement and stop wildlife exploitation" says Nicola Gerrard of Blood Lions.

Big cat biologist, Luke Dollar, told National Geographic that, “While it may be a thrilling experience for a person to do, and they may think they are helping wildlife by doing so, I don’t see an obvious connection. If we love these cats so much why do we feel the need to touch them or hug them or walk with them, as though that is a natural occurrence?”

“Behaviours and programs that skirt the reality of our place in the food chain seem to be an accident waiting to happen,” says Dollar.

The Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT), one of South Africa’s most respected and long-standing conservation organisations, have also come out strongly against close human interactions with large carnivores.

Their position paper from October 2015 clearly states that the educational value of captive-predator facilities is questionable in that “they give the general public the wrong impression that it is acceptable to hold carnivores in captivity. At best these facilities offer ‘edutainment’ with no real measurable change in behaviour that promotes conservation.”

EWT have long warned that captive carnivores do not have an innate fear of humans and often consider humans as potential prey or associate them with food. “This makes them dangerous to humans and interactions can result in serious injury or death,” says Dr Kelly Marnewick, senior trade officer for EWT’s Wildlife in Trade Program.

While EWT believes that ecotourism is important for the South African economy, the caveat is that it needs to be done in a manner such that it promotes the long-term conservation of our country's wildlife heritage.

“The captive-keeping of carnivores, and touch programmes, do not contribute to the sustainable, responsible use of our wildlife resources and in most cases are detrimental to conservation.”

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"Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." Nelson Mandela
The desire for equality must never exceed the demands of knowledge

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