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High Level Panel Report on Iconic Species Released

May 4, 2021

Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment

The High Level Panel Report on the management, breeding, hunting, trade and handling of elephant, lion, leopard and rhinoceros has been released.

The Panel was set up in 2019 to review policies, legislation and practices related to the four species.

Speaking at the release, the forestry, fisheries and environment minister, Barbara Creecy, pointed out that parliament had earlier requested the department to initiate a policy and legislative review on the captive lion breeding industry.

The department subsequently decided to expand the review to include the other species that also face significant threats.

The minister confirmed that the Panel’s recommendations will be taken forward to develop a Policy on Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Use and adopt a One Welfare approach for wildlife.

“Transformation of the sector will be prioritised, in terms of improved inclusion of marginalised groups, especially communities living with or adjacent to these species, and in the role and influence of traditional leaders and healers in the wildlife sector”, she said.

The minister stressed that the Report “provides a platform for not only achieving policy clarity, but also for the development of a New Deal for people and wildlife in South Africa”.

Implementation of the recommendations will result in “both protection and enhancement of South Africa’s international reputation, repositioning the country as an even more competitive destination of choice for ecotourism and responsible hunting”.

A Draft Policy Position that covers the key policy implications of the recommendations will shortly be published for public participation.