Calls for a ‘New deal for people and Wildlife’ in open letter to minister

Posted by David Henning on 15 October 2021

Blood Lions, along with other animal rights partner organisations, have sent out an open letter, along with a petition signed by more than 75 000 people, urging Minister of Environmental Affairs, Barbara Creecy, to plan for a ‘New Deal for People and WIldlife.’ The full press release is below.


‘Dear Honourable Minister Creecy and Dr Naicker,


As global citizens concerned about the fate of South Africa’s biodiversity and iconic wildlife, we write in support of your transformational draft Policy Position on the conservation and ecologically sustainable use of elephant, lion, leopard and rhinoceros and call on you to set ambitious and urgent time frames:

● To immediately halt the domestication and exploitation of lions, as well as implement the closure of captive lion facilities with due consideration for the welfare of the animals affected.

● To reverse the domestication and intensification of management of rhino.

● To prohibit ivory and rhino horn trade under current conditions

● To restrict ex-situ live export of the iconic species.

● To implement an increased wildness, naturalness and wellbeing of fauna focus.

● To adopt the One Welfare approach.

● To embrace a transformative African approach to conservation and ecologically sustainable use, consistent with Ubuntu.

These progressive and ambitious goals are supported not only by Humane Society International, World Animal Protection, Born Free Foundation, Blood Lions, and FOUR PAWS, but also by 75,504 global citizens, including at least 9,011 South African voices, who recognise that these goals are required to ensure a vibrant, inclusive transformation of the wildlife sector, rural socio-economic development and the safeguarding of our iconic species.

Together, these shifts in policy will signify a New Deal for people and wildlife, and position South Africa as a global leader and destination of choice for nature-based tourism, a key future driver of our economy and rural socio-economic development. The subsequent development of a pioneering White Paper on Biodiversity Conservation and Ecologically Sustainable Use will arguably represent the most significant environmental legislation since the dawn of democracy in South Africa and will set precedent for conservation and development globally by incorporating the principles of One Welfare and wellbeing.

This includes the key policy directions announced by the Minister, to ensure the reversal of intensive breeding and domestication of lion and rhino, and to initiate the comprehensive transformation of the wildlife sector with the aim of improving conservation and animal welfare outcomes to the benefit of wildlife and people alike. The White Paper will build on the proposed progressive definition of ecologically sustainable use, as contained within the draft Policy Position and based on the High-Level Panel’s report.

It will encapsulate an African approach to wild animals and nature, framed within Ubuntu, that highlights their welfare, wellbeing and sentience, and provides for people living in harmony with nature. This will resurrect the cultures and traditions, and sacred values of iconic wildlife and nature for African people. We encourage you to finalise this transformational shift by urgently completing the draft Policy Position document and rapidly put the necessary processes in place to formulate a draft White Paper on Biodiversity Conservation and Ecologically Sustainable Use, in order to achieve this new vision in the interest of South Africa, its iconic wildlife, and its people.’

The open letter was signed by the following individuals:

  • Dr Louise de Waal – Blood Lions: Director and Campaign Manager
  • Dr Audrey Delsink – HSI – Africa: Wildlife Director
  • Fiona Miles –  Four Paws: Director
  • Gilbert Sape – World Animal Protection: Global Head of Campaign Wildlife, Not Medicine
  • Dr Mark Jones – Born Free Foundation: Head of Policy

Petition data A total of 14,191 signatures, including 9,011 South African signatures. Click HERE to view the petition.

Picture: Getaway Gallery


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