Speak Out: Should South Africa issue permits to hunt predators?

The Caracal: One of the animals included in the hunting permit through CapeNature

Killing animals from helicopters. It’s not just for Sarah Palin’s Alaska.

It’s on the table as a justified means of wildlife management in South Africa.
Published under a low-profile link on their website, CapeNature says you have until June 5th, 2012 to comment on these hunting permits.

Submit your comments here & directly to CapeNature: dca@capenature.co.za

The document states this is a “holistic approach” to support biodiversity but one would be hard pressed to agree with such descriptions when outlined in the methods agreed upon are:
• Hunting from Helicopter *
• Hunting dogs
• Soft traps (leghold devices)**
• Night hunting & the use of artifical lights (typically a prohibited method)
• Cage Traps

*Hunting from helicopters: “This management method may only take place on an experimental basis for the purpose of research” This ‘research’ is not defined.

** “Though they are punted as a kinder option than steel-toothed gin traps because they are rubberised, Smuts said the traps still fractured limbs, cut off blood supply, tore ligaments and caused the trapped animals painful, stressful deaths”. –
Fiona Macleod

The document appears to allow for one year hunting permits without limits and outsources biodiversity management.  The blanket approval for species assault in conjunction with extreme and typically prohibited methods of hunting is another cause for concern.  What type of ‘research’ is hunting from helicopters serving?  Can CapeNature define this statements found within the document?

The Mail & Guardian reported on this story in March before this new proposal was public: “The Democratic Alliance in the Western Cape has been accused of using hunting permits to win votes, and this has affected the predator numbers.”

Another article in Farmers Weekly from October 6, 2011: “In a statement issued by the provincial environmental affairs department and CapeNature, it was agreed that damage-causing animals would in future be managed in terms of a protocol that will be drafted between CapeNature and the industry.
This protocol would remain in place until the national norms and standards for the management of damage-causing animals is promulgated. It was determined at this meeting that a number of management methods will be incorporated into the protocol. “

This ‘protocol’ constitutes a severe undermining of the definition of conservation. Is this action truly necessary as a means of biodiversity management and has the Predator Management Forum implemented other predator-safe practices prior to coming up with this proposal?

Who is the Predator Management Forum that Cape Nature is working in conjunction with?
The PMF represents the following agricultural organizations, Agri Wes-Kaap, Red Meat Producers Organisation, National Wool Growers, and the Mohair Growers’ Association.

NOTE: CapeNature & PMF representatives are invited to comment on the nature of these comment / objection time frame limitations and reasoning for the proposed broad, long term hunting permits published on their site. At the time of this blog post and due to the constraints of the June 5th deadline for comment, I felt time was of the essence in regards to publication. – Marcy Mendelson

Read the full proposal:

You may submit your comments to: dca@capenature.co.za


  1. Crysten
    Posted 3 Jun ’12 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    Please do not idsue these permits! It would be a huge mistake! It would basically void all the efforts of trying to help endangered species, and the reintroduction of them. Please, do not issue these horrible and sick permits!

  2. Posted 3 Jun ’12 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

    This is becoming ludicrous. Hunting by means of of helicopter. I find it totally unacceptable that the caracal is getting hunted. We as humans have invaded their space and now we want them dead. Why? Because farmers are loosing livestock. So what Cape Nature consider the impact of issuing such permits. The caracal is there to keep the population of vermin down. Take them away there will be a population explosion of vermin and diseases wich of course could result in medical issues. Concentrate on that issue instead of hunting our caracal. Going ahead with issuing permits and you will be responsible for annihalation of a species.

    • Mendelson Images
      Posted 3 Jun ’12 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for your comment, Mark… maybe you should share w/ CapeNature too?
      You may submit your comments directly to CapeNature here: dca@capenature.co.za

  3. Mendelson Images
    Posted 3 Jun ’12 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

    Landmark Leopard & Predator Project of South Africa have released a formal statement:

  4. Thorsten Kassebeer
    Posted 3 Jun ’12 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

    Stop this !!!!

    • Mendelson Images
      Posted 3 Jun ’12 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

      don’t forget to submit your comments directly to CapeNature here: dca@capenature.co.za

  5. Posted 3 Jun ’12 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

    Issuing permits is not the Answer. Why is it the first solution is to kill ? You need to find a way to work with these Species not Against them. For the love of God , we are Trying our Hardest to Save the last of the Endangered Species, This planet losing them will be a Terrible ruination to the Balance of this planet. Start thinking with a different mindset and help Conserve the last of the Earths Preditors…..

    • Mendelson Images
      Posted 3 Jun ’12 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

      thanks dawny! don’t forget to submit your comments directly to CapeNature here: dca@capenature.co.za

  6. Vegan life
    Posted 3 Jun ’12 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

    Please do not issue these permits, these animals should not die for what man has done.
    Thank you

    • Mendelson Images
      Posted 3 Jun ’12 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

      thank you vegan-life: don’t forget to submit your comments directly to CapeNature here: dca@capenature.co.za

  7. Roechelle
    Posted 3 Jun ’12 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

    This should not happen, It needs to be stopped now!
    Getting rid of the Caracal will create bigger problems, that will be much harder to solve than working out a way to live in peace with a wild animal

  8. Nicholas Raven
    Posted 3 Jun ’12 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

    There is hunting for sport, there is hunting for population control, then there is slaughter. slaughter, the most brutal and senseless type of killing is usually done from a helicopter. As a wildlife conservation organization you should understand that animal conservation brings in more revenue than hunting permits or outright killing. Shooting animals and leaving them to rot on the ground like discarded garbage will always be a black mark on the efforts of humanity to coexist with nature.

    Learn from the history of our animal carelessness. Look at all the endangered species, consider all the efforts to bring species back from the brink of extinction – it all started with “population control” and indiscriminate killing of so called predators and exotic food slaughter, which for land animals always starts with helicopter hunting.

    Add my voice to the countless people who oppose this type of slaughter

    Nicholas Raven

  9. Posted 3 Jun ’12 at 10:57 pm | Permalink

    The SanWild Wildlife Trust is totally opposed to the suggested and intended method to control small predatos. It is unacceptable and cruel and we call on everyone to immediately stop their support of the Democratic Alliance if this is what Helen Zille stands for. It seems South Africa continues to be ruled by pigheads unfortunately that has no compassion or understanding of natures and her creatures. The is more than enough scientific research that has been done into the matter and human farming methods do exist in which farmers and stockowners can learn to life and farm alongside nature. In an evolving world it is neccessary that mankind adapts to take congnicance of our planet and its creatures’ needs.

    • Mendelson Images
      Posted 4 Jun ’12 at 9:12 am | Permalink

      Thank you Louise & the SanWild Wildlife: make sure you also email: dca@capenature.co.za

  10. Posted 4 Jun ’12 at 12:11 am | Permalink

    All forms of Hunting for pleasure (CANNED HUNTING) should be BANNED NOW!!

  11. Sandra
    Posted 4 Jun ’12 at 12:52 am | Permalink

    This is totally unbelievable. Man has created an ecological disaster which has necessitated that these animals prey on livestock – and now their answer to this is wholesale slaughter! the very thing that caused the situation in the first place.
    When their sheep have denuded the plant of all flora then what! should we set traps and hunt them from helicopters?
    People that hunt animals are immoral and cruel. Proving you have a big penis by killing animals from helicopters? WTF ….. humans are totally despicable I am embarrassed to be part of this cruel and stupid species

  12. Christiane Schmitz
    Posted 4 Jun ’12 at 1:32 am | Permalink

    No!!!!!! Don´t allow any hunting!!!! Stop it!!! It´s our duty to protect all these beautiful animals and not to hunt them for whatever reason! When will people learn that all creatures on earth have the same right to live in peace and freedom than we have???

  13. Posted 4 Jun ’12 at 2:14 am | Permalink

    As a vivid and dedicated advocate for all wildlife, I am STRONGLY opposed to the passing of these outrageous hunting permits and I am truly concerned about the negative effects which the proposed so-called “justified means of wildlife management” will have on many endangered and other species.

    All living creatures on earth deserve our full support and compassion, all being equally important and vital for a healthy Eco structure.

    Henry Beston said the following: “The animal shall not be measured by man. In a world older and more complete than ours, they move finished and complete, gifted with extensions of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear. They are not brethren; they are not underlings; they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendor and travail of the earth.”

    No-one has the right to destroy the life of ANY other nation. This proposal must be stopped in its tracks before any more animals are slaughtered!

  14. Dr. Wolfgang Bischof
    Posted 4 Jun ’12 at 2:59 am | Permalink

    Huinting from helicopter – “absolute No GO”, same to traps and nighthunting with artificial light

    Hunting with cage traps only when animals are released afterwards.
    Whose sick brain had devised all that?

  15. Lieljan
    Posted 4 Jun ’12 at 3:03 am | Permalink

    Because I can’t better say than Permalink:
    Issuing permits is not the Answer. Why is it the first solution is to kill ? You need to find a way to work with these Species not Against them. For the love of God , we are Trying our Hardest to Save the last of the Endangered Species, This planet losing them will be a Terrible ruination to the Balance of this planet. Start thinking with a different mindset and help Conserve the last of the Earths Preditors…..

  16. Sue O
    Posted 4 Jun ’12 at 3:33 am | Permalink

    This is terrible and wrong! No person should be given any kind of permit to destroy the life of a beautiful creature like this! What they do is instinct, when a predator kills an animal it is how they survive and most will not kill ridiculous amounts of prey, just enough to live. Why should we stop them or call them monsters for living?! What rights do we have that they should not?
    A murderer does not get put to death in most countries for appalling and unnatural acts but we sentence these amazing things to death for natural instinct? What have we come to? Does anyone realise they are destroying the world’s natural beauties for every generation to come and we will all have to explain to our children why nothing runs free anymore.

  17. Posted 4 Jun ’12 at 3:36 am | Permalink

    the only “sport” hunting predator on
    the earth is man,
    he perpetrates such cruelty
    because he can.
    and those of us who care.
    about living beings,
    will not sit quietly
    and do nothing about
    the cruelty we are seeing.
    hunting ANY being is not sport,
    it is murder most foul.
    against this abomination,
    we rise up and howl!!!

  18. Susan Mackay
    Posted 4 Jun ’12 at 3:50 am | Permalink

    quote, “Killing animals from helicopters. It’s not just for Sarah Palin’s Alaska.” SO, does Alaska REALLY shoot from helicopters??
    Anyhow, despite the inflamatory style of this article, I agree with Louise Joubert above.

  19. Lillirose Merlina
    Posted 4 Jun ’12 at 3:59 am | Permalink

    Please do not idsue these permits! It would be a huge mistake! It would basically void all the efforts of trying to help endangered species, and the reintroduction of them. Please, do not issue these horrible and sick permits!

  20. James
    Posted 4 Jun ’12 at 4:13 am | Permalink

    It is with great disappointment and frustration that once again, elected governments & so called leaders bow down to powerful loggy groups all for profit. Cape Nature & the DA have shown little leadership or will to challenge what is clearly wrong. When the last vestages of our natural environment are wiped out, maybe then you will react to a call for compassion and proper animal management.
    For this reason alone, I cannot and will not support your organisations nor the people you bow down two. It seem that only a loss of support and income can change this.
    Let our votes and money speak for us then.

  21. Posted 4 Jun ’12 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    No animal should be hunted and most certainly no permits should be issued for this to be allowed to happen. It is despicable to even contemplate issuing permits to anyone. We have a great country.These animals draw in tourists by the hundreds of thousands every year. We should go down on our bended knees and thank GOD that we still have some animals left on this planet

  22. Posted 5 Jun ’12 at 4:33 am | Permalink

    and when the aliens land,
    from outer space
    will they have a permit
    to destroy the place,
    and hunt us down
    or collect one or two,
    prime human specimens.
    for their zoo…
    it hurts to think,
    when it is the
    bitter fruit you
    have to drink

  23. Mendelson Images
    Posted 5 Jun ’12 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

    CapeNature link to further explanation:

    Personally I find a lot of contradictions in the number of animals killed and estimated permits in addition to blame on Landmark Leopard for bringing this in front of the media.

  24. Maike Bieber
    Posted 5 Jun ’12 at 10:32 pm | Permalink

    Obviously they are not able to think out of the Box … They just use the oldest method to “solve” a human/wildlife conflict what is called “Hunting”. But it is a wrong method! It will be a “free ticket” to “clean” the farms from predetor and when they are all gone they need to hunt the herbivors as they will become a problem on the farms in overpopulation. Overpopulation of herbivores will be a tread for farming and will change the bush and grasvegetation and this will have an impact to insects and even soilerrosion … etc. etc. etc …
    Please don’t issue this permit – think about other solutions!

  25. John Leather
    Posted 14 Jun ’12 at 11:59 am | Permalink

    The idea to issue permits to hunt ‘invasive’ predators from helicopters needs serious consideration.
    Firstly, as you are probably well aware, there is currently an epidemic of illegal Rhino hunting taking place in Southern Africa by people who, using helicopters, are selfishly profiting by poaching these magnificent animals to the detriment of not only the South African economy, but the wider world. A big problem they need to consider here, is that by sanctioning this form of culling/hunting, poachers are going to be able to use these permits as cover to be up flying and indeed scouting for opportunities to take more Rhino and further strain an iconic species, which, by way of it’s phenomenal value as a tourism earner for SA, not to mention it’s catastrophic decline, must now be protected at all costs.

    A management policy that not only works to benefit the preservation of South Africa’s fantastic biodiversity, but also to the productivity and health of their own land is, I would assume, their and all farmers’ greatest priority?
    Thus South African farmers must also recognise that ‘pest’ species that CapeNature have targeted for destruction have an intrinsic value that is rarely taken into account. As a medium sized cat, the Caracal, for example is of value to farmers as a natural pest controller, and would be taking many times the number of small animals in comparison to the small percent of livestock depredation that is likely occurring.

    I believe hunting with dogs, snaring and hunting from helicopters is an excuse for an open season on all animals. Predator numbers are already becoming too low and so what I fear we will see, is an ‘if it moves shoot it’ mentality that will undo so much of the effort and world-wide money that has been spent on conservation in SA.
    In New Zealand where I live for example, as a country with no medium to large predators, there are many problems that the Department of Conservation have to tackle in relation to the damage a predator-free landscape populated only by deer, pigs and goats does to the local environment. (Erosion, insect pollination issues, destruction of the bushscape etc)
    Healthy predator stocks mitigate these problems to a large extent and must be considered for the indirect good they do rather than the more direct and easier to see problems they occasionally cause.

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