At the recent CITES conference held in Johannesburg a number of precedent-setting decisions were taken which will have long-term implications on the conservation and hunting industries. The CITES conferences have, for a long time, been seen to be backing anti-hunting lobbyists and organisations.

While the position of such lobbyists and organisations can sometimes be in the interests of conservation, this is not always the case. Pro-hunting organisations have maintained that hunting and conservation are two sides of the same coin and as such rely closely on each for their continued mutual benefit. One of the most revealing decisions taken at the recent CITES meeting was that hunting is an important element of the conservation and preservation of wildlife.

At CITES, 182 countries, advised by knowledgeable and respected authorities on the matter, recognised the benefits that trophy hunting provides for species conservation and community livelihoods, acknowledging that individual countries are the best protectors of their own wildlife. They have agreed that attaching economic value to wildlife contributes to conservation and the sustainable use of species.

In another move which expands on the premise that conservation and hunting are intertwined, the motion to move the African Lion from Appendix II to Appendix I was officially and emphatically defeated. The result is that the lion will remain on Appendix II but with inclusion of a new provision for the import and export of lion bone including skulls. This will not, however, affect the transportation of lion trophies.

The African lion debate was one of the most contentious of the entire Conference. The debate was settled with a compromise reached among lion range states and private organisations. The compromise includes a zero annual quota for commercial trade in lion bone derived from wild sources and limits commercial trade in lion bone derived from captive breeding facilities in South Africa to annually established export quotas. Restricting the trade in lion bone was a pre-emptive action taken to prevent an escalation of illegal trade in bone from Africa to Asia for the purpose of traditional Asian medicine.

The outcome of the CITES Conference was a resounding success for pro-hunting and pro-conservation entities. We at Zingela Forwarders are delighted at the outcomes reached at the CITES Conference because it appears that through perseverance the importance of hunting as a contributor to the conservation process has finally become clear.

We will continue to assist our clients with the freighting and forwarding of their trophies in accordance with international practises and laws. We fully agree that stringent controls and regulations are required to curb the scourge of poaching in all its forms and we will do everything we can to ensure that our clients remain compliant with the letter and spirit of the laws, not only of this country but also the countries of final destination for the trophies.