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Save South African Leopards: Do Not Allow Trophy Hunting
Target: Dr. Edna Molewa, Minister of Environmental Affairs, South Africa
Goal: Do not reinstate trophy hunting quotas for leopards after two years of protecting unstable leopard populations and issuing zero quotas.
An updated quota was announced which will allow trophy hunting of leopards in South Africa, despite scientific concern that such activities post a high risk to the survival of wild populations. This announcement comes following two years in which zero quotas were issued, meaning that trophy hunting was not allowed at all for the sake of protecting the threatened leopards. This decision came at the behest of the Scientific Authority—an organization established to “assist in regulating and restricting the trade of listed threatened or protected species, and species to which an international agreement regulating international trade applies.”Now, however, the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) is calling the leopard population of certain areas “stable,” and thereby allowing as many as seven male leopards over the age of seven years to be needlessly killed.
The assertion of the population’s “stability” is contradicted by the fact that the leopard has been classified as an endangered species. Last year’s estimates showed that there were only 4,500 remaining in the wilds of South Africa, and that their numbers declined by nearly two thirds in under eight years. Trophy hunting is inhumane and immoral under any circumstance, but it is especially irresponsible when it comes to threatened species. Demand that the iconic South African wild leopard be protected and the new trophy hunting quota rescinded.
Dear Dr. Molewa,
The new trophy hunting quota for wild leopards is dangerous and irresponsible and must be overturned. The DEA’s assertion that leopard populations in certain areas are “stable” flies in the face of evidence of threats to the survival of the species. In under eight years their numbers declined by nearly 66%, and the leopard was listed as endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s Red List in 2016. Last year only 4,500 remained in the wild.
Even putting aside these high risks, trophy hunting is unacceptable and needlessly cruel. No wild animal should ever be killed for sport and bragging rights. It is your responsibility to protect these leopards, not further endanger them. I urge you to rescind the new trophy hunting quotas and return to zero quotas, as was the case for the past two years. Wild leopards must be protected.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Derek Keats
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