Fear of Ecological Collapse in Southern Africa

October 26, 2012

WCS and partner organizations have issued a new report emphasizing paramount threats to wildlife in Southern Africa. Illegal hunting, the bushmeat trade, and unselective snaring are compromising already-fragile species.

The African savannah is home to countless iconic species. Cheetah, lion, leopard, and African wild dog roam South Africa, but increasing threats from illegal hunting and the bushmeat trade haunt these powerful predators. Unselective methods—like snare traps—capture unintended victims while diminishing prey.

A new report co-authored by WCS, Panthera, and the Zoological Society of London underlines the severity of these risks: without intervention, entire regions could suffer ecological collapse.

To encourage effective action, heads of global conservation agencies, government representatives, and other NGOs gathered in Johannesburg, where they unanimously agreed on the urgency of tackling illegal bushmeat extraction. Participants also developed a set of guiding principles, calling on the South African Development Community (SADC) to implement them.

Speaking about threats in the region, Dr. Sarah Durant of WCS/ZSL said, “The continued survival of cheetah across large tracts of their range in the SADC region depends on finding ways to ensure that bushmeat extraction is sustainable.” Additionally, Dr. Netty Purchase of WCS/ZSL explained: “Most cheetahs and African wild dogs occur outside protected areas, coexisting with people and their livestock, and are very vulnerable to snaring and the loss of their wild prey.”

Read the report>>

Learn more about the co-authors and meeting participants by reading our press release>>

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