On Monday 25th January, the South African government decided to stop issuing any permits for hunting leopards in 2016.A hugely favourable decision for animal rights activists and animal lovers worldwide.
Under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), South Africa is entitled to issue 150 permits a year for the trophy-hunting of leopards destined for export. But this year,not one will be issued.
The number of leopards in the wild remains a mystery given these creatures' incredibly discreet nature and nocturnal living habits.Andrew Muir, one of the members of the local charityWilderness Foundationadded:
Until we know population numbers and carrying capacity we should not hunt them.
Sadly though, South Africa continues to earn a substantial profitfrom selling hunting permits to rich foreigners who want to shoot a lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo, or rhinoceros (one of "the big five"). These trophy hunters are willing to fork out thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars for the 'hit'.
According to figures from South Africa's Environment Ministry, hunting turns over6.2 billionrand every year... that's $373 million dollars.We hope this decision will be taken into effect in the following years as well, and that other species can also benefit from a ban on hunting!