Carnivore Conservation Programme



Carnivores are traded both a living and dead specimens e.g. Leopards are traded for hunting trophies and cheetahs as exotic pets. Trade needs to be well regulated to ensure that it does not impact negatively on the survival of the species. In South Africa it has been shown that the regulation and policing of trade in carnivores is inefficient and that in many cases trade is detrimental to the survival of the species. This projects focuses on ensuring that any trade is not detrimental to carnivore survival in South Africa through monitoring, regulation, awareness and training.

Not location specific

Cheetahs, Leopards, Lions, Servals

Trade can be a threat to many large carnivores e.g. Leopards are traded for trophy hunting and Cheetahs as pets. If this trade is not well managed and regulated, it can have negative impacts on the long-term survival of carnivores. This project addresses trade in three key areas:

  • Legislation: A key requirement for trade regulation is legislation that is effective, implemented and policed. Key loopholes and weaknesses in the legislation need to be identified and closed. This will also require the identification of key actions to drive the changes that are required to make the legislation more effective. Case studies and case law are required to provide support for the legislation. A good understanding of the CITES convention needs to be developed and then used to leverage the convention to protect carnivores against detrimental trade.
  • Awareness: an increased awareness is needed - in the general public and within the legal system - around the plight of carnivores and the impacts of trade on their survival. This will result in trade crimes being taken more seriously, magistrates handing down more appropriate sentences and thus disincentivising illegal trade.
  • Capacity building: there is a lack of capacity in South Africa to deal with trade issues. The current legal trade is ineffectively regulated and the illegal trade is not policed and sentences are not appropriate. Law enforcement officials (from detective through to magistrates) need to be trained to increase the effective implementation of legislation. Formal interactions and information sharing exchanges need to be developed with various wildlife trade fora both inside and outside of government e.g. Wildlife Enforcement Networks
  • Monitoring and horizon scanning: monitoring of local and international trade is required to establish early warning systems for possible trade issues. The drivers for supply and demand of trade need to be investigated and understood using expert partners.