South Africa bans leopard hunts due to uncertainty on numbers

  • 528

For the first time in decades, hunters with deep pockets will not be able to shoot all of the “big five” game animals in after the government banned hunts for the 2016 season.

The South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) recommended the temporary ban because it said leopard numbers could not be firmly established.

“There is uncertainty about the numbers and this is not a permanent ban, but we need more information to guide quotas,” John Donaldson, SANBI’s director of research, said.

A leopard in South Africa’s . Photograph: Mike Hutchings/Reuters

Leopard is one of five game most desired by hunters, along with lion, rhino, buffalo and elephant. But given their secretive and nocturnal nature, the big cats are not easy to count.

SANBI said it drew its conclusions from studies and data mostly from protected areas and national parks, not private lands, leading the Professional Hunters Association of South Africa (PHASA) to say it gave an incomplete picture.

“There are lots of leopards on private land,” said PHASA chief executive Tharia Unwin, adding that PHASA was providing the government with leopard data from private lands.

South Africa has also suffered its worst drought on record and Unwin said this was good for leopard numbers, as predators typically thrive when the rains are poor, leaving much of their prey in a weakened and easy-to-kill state.

Unwin said it cost up to U$20,000 (£14,000) to shoot a leopard and several of PHASA’s members had to refund clients who had put down deposits for leopard hunts. Most foreign hunters who come to South Africa for such game are American.

all of the big five has been legal in South Africa since the 80s, when hunts for white rhino were resumed. South African environment minister Edna Molewa is a vocal advocate of the hunting industry, which the government estimates contributes 6.2bn rand ($410m) annually.

There was global outrage last year over the of Cecil the Lion in Zimbabwe by a US dentist.

This article was first published by The Guardian on 13 Mar 2016.


Subscribe to our FREE Newsletter



Vanished - Megascops Choliba by Jose Garcia Allievi

Discover hidden wildlife with our FREE newsletters

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.


Founder and Executive Editor

Share this post with your friends

  • 528

Facebook Comments

Leave a Reply

Please Login to comment
Fran Armato

Thank God, something will be done .there is No Reason nor any Sick Excuse, to Kill anyone Human nor Animal, Mammal etc Unless there may be a Threat…

Neila Wood

Good when these FUCKING GREEDY ASSHOLES in AFRICA have all the animals killed –well hell just MAYBE they will sell HUNTS on their FUCKED UP Selves–I only wish that KARMA would put a plague on these SOB's and wipeout the entire COUNTRY–and personally it would be nice if quite a FEW TRASH AMERICAN HUNTERS were included in the wipeout! I can only wish~~

Mary Frances K Hoef-Bouchard

Pretty disgusting that in this day and age we still have humans willing to slaughter these gorgeous simply for fun. Because, lets use the right language here. Sports are for fun, and anyone who would dress up killing another living creature for fun as a sport has something mentally wrong with them and shouldn't be allow to walk amoung us.

Trevor Kent

What is the appeal in shooting a defenceless animal with a high powered rifle? You don't even stalk them, a ranger sets up the shot and then you can take the credit.

Kathleen Colley

We are witnessing the extinction of animals in Africa, just as they became extinct in the north of Africa where there used to roam lions, elephants, rhinos etc, but these were hunted to extinction along with the ravages of drought. In norther Europe too, hundreds of years ago, the continents were teeming with bears, wolves, snow leopards, Amiir Tigers – they too were hunted to extinction. Mankind has not learnt from this.