The civil rights organisation AfriForum today served an application in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act, 2000 (Act No 2 of 2000) to compel the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) to release information pertaining to its decision to increase the export quota for lion skeletons.
This follows the DEA announcement on 16 July 2018 that it would increase the export quota of lion skeletons to 1 500 annually, based on their research. In 2017, the export quota was set at 800 lion skeletons per year.
AfriForum applied to obtain the following information:
- Complete copies of the research projects on which the decision was based to increase export quotas
- Information on where the lion skeletons would be exported to, as well as where the money generated would be appropriated
- Proof that the DEA informed the Convention on International Trading in Endangered Species (CITES) of its decision
- Information on how the export of lion skeletons would be regulated, as well as records of the origin of these skeletons
- Proof that the trading in lion skeletons would contribute to the preservation of lions.
“AfriForum took note of the DEA’s decision and will decide on the road ahead depending on the requested information. We are worried about the preservation of South Africa’s unique and endangered species. The state must prioritise this. An open and transparent process based on scientific proof and to the benefit of preservation must be followed in such a case,” says Chris Boshoff, AfriForum’s Coordinator for Environmental Affairs.