Reclassify Leopards Currently Listed as Threatened Species to Endangered Species Under the Act, Docket ID No: FWS-HQ-ES-2016-0131-0001
We, together with other 65.000 people listed below, support the reclassification of the leopard from Threatened species to Endangered.
The population of leopards is declining at a concerning rate. Leopards are no longer present in approximately 40 per cent of their historic habitats in Africa and 50 per cent of their historic range in Asia. Camera surveys confirm a concerning drop in numbers worldwide. On the other hand there are not scientific data on the exact population so there is no support to allow any hunting quota.
It is another fact that leopard mortality, in most countries, exceeded their annual trophy quota rate. This species is in rapid decline and governments have not acted adequately to protect it. Corruption, human activities, urbanization and farming interfere badly with the survival of this species. The conflict with farming livestock put the leopard in the position of being a “problem animal” to destroy.
We ask you to take in consideration climate change which affects all wildlife and in particular the species already declining. South Africa has just moved, for the second year, to set the hunting quota to zero in 2017;
Species like the Panthera Pardus should be protected by any sort of human activity, hunt or trade until repopulation is guaranteed.
The Studies listed below show that:
– Scientific data show that leopards are the most persecuted cat species in the world.
– There is an unprecedented lack of scientific data on the number of leopards remaining.
– Camera trapping surveys conducted during a study period indicate that leopard population in Southern Africa are declining rapidly and at a very concerning rate.
– Climate change and drought affect and threaten the leopard population worldwide.
– The decreasing of habitat affects and threatens the leopard population worldwide.
– The conflict with growing agriculture, livestock farming and urbanization affect and threatens the leopard population worldwide.
– Unreported and illegal killing of leopards is widespread across Southern Africa.
– Leopard mortality exceeds the annual trophy “offtake” quota considered sustainable by the countries where the leopard is an indigenous species.
– In these countries there is inadequate legislation and poor control to persecute illegal killings and manage the leopard population.
– Fencing fragments the leopard habitat and affects the reproduction of the species.
– Illegal trading of leopards parts is not adequately punished by the countries where the leopard is an indigenous species. Often the enforcement is weak and incompetent.
– There is proof of corruption in the release of permits for trophy hunting of leopards.
– Under-stuffed and dysfunctional Conservation departments are unable to monitor a particular elusive species such as leopard.
– Kahler & Gore, M.L. 2005, Local Perceptions, Human-Wildlife conflicts in Namibia
– Minin-Fraser-Slotow-McMillan, Understanding the preference of tourists for big game species. Implication for Conservation, 2013
– Nadal &Aguaio, A review of the Economic Analysis of wildlife trade, 2014
– Pitman-Fattebert-Williams, The Conservation costs of Game Ranching, 2016
– Pitman-Swanepoel, The importance of Refugia, 1987
– Richardson-Loomis, The total economic value of threatened, endangered and rare species, 2009
– Ripple-Estes-Beschta, Status and ecological effects of the world’s largest carnivores, 2015
– St John-Keane, Identifying indicators of carnivore killing, 2012
– Swanepoel-Lindsey-Somers, Extent and fragmentation of suitable Leopard habitat in South Africa, 2013
– Thorn-Green-Scott, Characteristics and determinants of human-carnivore conflict in South African farmland, 2013.
1 -Ripple-Chapron, Conserving the World’s Megafauna and Biodiversity, American Institute of Biological Science, 2017 https://academic.oup.com/bioscience/article-abstract/doi/10.1093/biosci/biw168/2900177/Conserving-the-World-s-Megafauna-and-Biodiversity?redirectedFrom=fulltext
2 –Wilson-Spaeth, Governments are not doing enough to stop wildlife crime, 2017 http://city-press.news24.com/Voices/governments-are-not-doing-enough-to-stop-wildlife-crime-20170104
3 – Cameron, Bustling trade in illegal wildlife products at Johannesburg market, 2016 https://www.biznews.com/sustainable-business/2016/10/06/watch-bustling-trade-in-illegal-wildlife-products-at-joburg-market-exposed/
1 -THE COMPREHENSIVE STUDY PRESENTED TO THE FWS ON THE 25TH OF JULY 2016 BY HUMANE SOCIETY INTERNATIONAL –USA
2 – EMS Foundation Comments on Trophy Hunting Leopards https://www.dropbox.com/s/c2ul5okdthtfe8j/EMS%20and%20BAT%20Comments%20on%20NDFs_10%20October%202015.pdf?dl=0
3 – EMS Foundation Comments to the Department of Environment Affairs/Leopard Trophy Hunts – Africa https://www.dropbox.com/s/1qq1ehny8uz2kon/EMS%20Foundation%20Comments%20on%20%20DEA%20N%26S%20Trophy%20Hunting%20Leopards%20Document.pdf?dl=0