By Zainul Dawood – Independent Online
The Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment is expected to release its High Level Panel report on the management, breeding, hunting, trade and handling of elephants, lions, leopards and rhinoceros on Sunday, May 2.
Minister Barbara Creecy appointed a panel in October 2019 after the hosting of a colloquium on captive lion breeding in August 2018. The colloquium recommended an end to lion breeding in South Africa.
Creecy said it was also in response to a number of emotive and complex conservation and sustainable use issues being raised by the public, particularly those involving keystone species.
Creecy said these included the lion bone trade, hunting of captive-bred lions, the elephant culling debate, the ivory stockpile, and trade in rhinoceros horn.
The panel, chaired by Pam Yako, reviewed policies, legislation and practices related to the management, breeding, hunting, trade and handling of elephant, lion, leopard and rhinoceros.
The panel comprised conservationists, scientists, departmental officials, community leaders, economists, experts in trade and industry, the law, welfare, legal and welfare industry, legal, welfare and sustainable agriculture.
Despite the challenges arising from the national Covid-19 lockdowns, Creecy received a full report from Yako on December 24, 2020.
The report has been tabled to the Cabinet who approved the report’s release and its recommendations for implementation.