Minister Molewa allocates leopard hunting quota for South Africa for 2018

12 August 2018

Based on a determination by the Scientific Authority, the Department of Environmental Affairs has confirmed the quota for the trophy hunting of leopard (Panthera pardus) in South Africa for 2018.

The quota has been allocated as follows:  Five male leopard in Limpopo Province and two male leopards in KwaZulu-Natal. The leopard must be older males –seven years or older in both cases.

It is important to note that the hunting of leopard is only undertaken in specified hunting zones where scientific evidence indicates stable leopard populations.

The current determination is based on a review of available scientific information on the status of leopard populations in South Africa and an evidence-based assessment by the Scientific Authority. 

The Scientific Authority was established in terms of Section 60 (1) of the National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act, 2004 (Act No.10 of 2004) (NEMBA) to assist in regulating and restricting the trade in specimens of listed threatened or protected species and species to which an international agreement regulating international trade applies.

In making the recommendation, the Scientific Authority took into account data and reports from the National Leopard Monitoring Project and other inputs on leopard numbers. 

As part of an ongoing adaptive management approach, the Scientific Authority concluded that a small quota, restricted to older males and coupled with the implementation of appropriate management systems as set out in the draft Norms and Standards for the Management and Monitoring of the Hunting of Leopard in South Africa for trophy hunting purposes, would not have a detrimental effect on the survival of leopard in the wild. The new quota replaces a zero quota for the hunting of leopard in place since January 2016.

The Scientific Authority has recommended that the quota be implemented in conjunction with the following actions:

  • Applications and hunt return data, including for leopards killed as Damage Causing Animals, should be managed at a national level by the Department of Environmental Affairs;
  • The Norms and Standards for the management and monitoring of the hunting of leopard in South Africa for trophy hunting purposes should be implemented. Until these come into effect, the principles and procedures contained in the draft Norms and Standards should be adhered to; 
  • The private sector should be encouraged to participate in joint leopard monitoring projects that are aligned with best practice guidelines for leopard monitoring;
  • The ongoing threat posed by the unregulated trade in leopard skins by religious groups needs urgent attention - as available evidence suggests that this impact is much greater than trophy hunting;
  • Trend data must form the basis for any management decisions regarding hunting;
  • No hunting should take place where leopard populations are in decline or where there is an absence of scientifically robust data on leopard population trends

It should be noted that quota allocation may change every year depending on the updated available scientific information on the status of leopard populations in South Africa.

For media inquiries contact:
Albi Modise
Cell: 083 490 2871

Editor’s Note:

The leopard (Panthera pardus) has been listed on Appendix I of CITES since 1975.  At the 4th meeting of the Conference of Parties to the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), the Parties adopted the first in a series of resolutions addressing trade in leopard skins.  Resolution Conf. 4.13 (i.e. Trade in Leopard Skins) recognized that Panthera pardus is not endangered throughout its range and established export quotas and a tagging system for leopard skins from seven range countries.  South Africa, as one of the range states of Panthera pardus, was allocated an annual quota of 150 leopards.