-Letter to the Minister of Environmental Affairs-

Dear Minister of Environmental Affairs Dr Edna Molewa,

We formally oppose by the deadline (1st of Jan 17), the Draft for the new Biodiversity Management Plan (BMP) regarding the Cape Mountain Zebra to be downlisted from Appendix I to Appendix II under CITES, as proposed in the South African Government Gazette No 404644, 02 December 2016 https://www.environment.gov.za/mediarelease/molewa_publishesbmpfor_capemountainzebra

This new proposal suggests that opportunities for international trade in Cape Mountain Zebra will increase their economic value, which in turn will increase the size and range of the species.

However, there is already trade in this species under Appendix I with a total of 11 skins and 5 trophies, all wild-sourced, exported from South Africa for hunting trophy purposes from 2010.

Therefore the economic incentive South Africa seeks is already available without a downlisting.

Most importantly, the Cape Mountain Zebra continues to qualify for listing on Appendix I in accordance with the criteria in Res. Conf. 9.24:

The national wild population consists of only 4,791 individuals which qualifies it as small, and this small population is distributed in 75 subpopulations, most of which have very small population sizes of less than 500.

In the 1950s trophy hunting reduced the population to only 80 individuals and the result is low genetic variation and a risk of inbreeding depression.

There is also extensive international trade in trophies of another South African zebra species, the Hartmann’s Zebra, which demonstrates the potential demand for Cape Mountain Zebra and therefore threat from trade.

The Cape Mountain Zebra is the smallest of all existing zebra species and also the most threatened and geographically restricted.

We formally object to the new Draft and demand to keep the Cape Mountain Zebra listed in Appendix I under CITES.