Abalone conservation to feature on Royal Tour of SA

Posted by Leila Stein on 9 September 2019

Abalone conservation is set to feature on the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s royal tour to South Africa. 

As part of a 10-day tour to Southern Africa beginning on 23 September, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will include several conservation-themed events in each country they visit, including a trip off the Cape Peninsula to learn about rampant abalone poaching. 

‘The Duke will then join the City of Cape Town Marine Unit to travel by boat to Seal Island, Kalk Bay, to learn about the important role they play in combatting the poaching of abalone, considered one of South Africa’s most significant illegal wildlife trade concerns which have reached critical levels,’ Samantha Cohen, private secretary told The Telegraph. 

Ninety-six million abalone have been poached in South Africa since 2000, according to a report released by wildlife trade organisation TRAFFIC in 2018.

‘Efforts to curb the illegal trade have roundly failed. Once abundant, the population of South African abalone [Haliotis midae] is declining at unprecedented levels,’ the report stated.

‘On average two thousand tonnes of abalone are bagged annually by poachers – 20 times the legal take – in an illicit industry estimated to be worth at least US$60-million a year.’

The UK has already become involved in anti-poaching initiatives in the country, with the Royal Marines participating in capacity-building and skills training activities. The royals’ highly-publicised visit is hoped to shine a brighter spotlight on this issue to global audiences, emphasising the need for improved regulation on overseas trade and for abalone to be listed on the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) protection list.

Image source: Pixabay

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