Human-wildlife conflict discussed at Western Cape legislature briefing
Cape Town - The legislature has questioned the norms and standards of the Biodiversity Act with regards to human-wildlife conflict which may result when wildlife damage crops and threaten, injure or kill people and domestic animals.
The issue came up when environmental affairs standing committee chairperson Andricus van der Westhuizen (DA) asked CapeNature about their policy regarding problem animals.
“Sometimes we get problem animals that need to be dealt with. But nowadays with the outcry against culling, problem animals are often moved to other locations.
“I know some farmers have in the past complained about problem animals and this might in the future include leopards. Is this something covered by the norms and standards for the management and monitoring of the hunting of leopards?” he asked.
CapeNature’s executive director for biodiversity capabilities, Coral Briss, said: “CapeNature supports the national norms and standards for the trophy hunting of leopards as developed in terms of the Biodiversity Act.
“Damage-causing leopards are dealt with in a different set of norms and standards and CapeNature has a process aligned with those norms and standards.
“We have a rigorous internal process of assessing whether a leopard was responsible for causing damage and whether it was identified as an individual. Similarly where there are injured animals there are a number of interventions considered and these include euthanasia.”
Earlier, she told the committee the key area of concern about trophy hunting of leopards was the ability to assess the age of male leopards as quotas would be issued to allow hunters to shoot male leopards over the age of seven.
Briss said: “This concern will be addressed by mechanisms which include the online examination of a local hunter or a professional hunter and the establishment of a panel of experts to assist in evaluation of photographs.
“To date no leopard has been hunted for trophy purposes in the Western Cape province. Trophy hunting of leopards mainly occurs in the North West and Limpopo provinces.”