South Africa: Period for Ministerial Task Team for Captive Lion Industry Extended

The Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, Barbara Creecy, has extended the establishment of the Ministerial Task Team — which is set to identify and recommend voluntary exit options and pathways for the captive lion industry — with a period of three months, with effect from 1 January – 31 March 2024.

“The extension is intended to allow for refinement and administrative handover of the report,” the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE) said on Tuesday.

The Minister has granted the extension in terms of section 3A of National Environmental Management Act, 1998 (Act No. 107 of 1998), by notice in the Government Gazette (Government Notice No. 2846, Government Gazette No. 47666 of 7 December 2022), as extended by Government Notice No. 3536, Government Gazette No. 48783 of 13 June 2023.

The appointment of this advisory panel, in terms of Section 3a of National Environmental Management Act (NEMA), followed a High Level Panel, which made a number of recommendations to the Minister on matters relating to the management, breeding, hunting, trade and handling of elephant, lion, leopard and rhinoceros.

The task team is required to undertake a process of engagement with all stakeholders in the captive lion industry, the relevant issuing authorities and vulnerable workers.

It is also required to plan and oversee an audit of existing captive and captive-bred facilities to confirm the number of lions; their age and sex; number of stockpiles of lion parts and derivatives, the practices used within that facility; the number, level of employment and skills of workers, and potential other land use options within the biodiversity economy.

Additional focus areas for the task team include:

  • To develop and oversee the initial implementation of a voluntary exit strategy and pathways from the captive lion industry for stakeholders who wish to pursue this option.
  • To identify, mobilise and endorse potential funding mechanisms, sources and procedures to support the voluntary exit strategy and pathways.
  • To provide advice to the Minister or department on any other matters related to the captive lion industry on request by either.

The Terms of Reference for the Ministerial Task Team are as contained in Government Notice No. 2846, Government Gazette No. 47666 of 7 December 2022.

The notice can be accessed on the link below: https://www.dffe.gov.za/sites/default/files/legislations/nema_captivelionindustryexit_taksteamextention_g50076gon4332.pdf.

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