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Another LEAP for wildlife

International Relations / Africa News

The Southern African  Development Community (SADC) is boosting efforts to protect wildlife.

SADC countries have taken bold steps to ensure that wildlife is protected, by adopting a Law Enforcement and Anti-poaching (LEAP) Strategy.

At the 4th Multi-Lateral Meeting of the Defence and Security Chiefs on Anti-Poaching, held in Mpumalanga, Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa said that SADC has adopted the LEAP Strategy.

“The illegal killing and trafficking of our wildlife undermines our investments in the protection and conservation of our natural heritage. It is for this reason that we as the Southern African countries, have adopted the LEAP Strategy after much deliberation. It now needs to be implemented,” she said.

According to the Minister, the strategy will boost efforts to combat wildlife poaching and trafficking by introducing a common approach to tackle the illicit transnational trade in wildlife.

“It has been almost a decade since rhino poaching started intensifying in the sub-region.  Through our efforts to combat the scourge, we have learnt lessons and have developed best practices that we can share with each other,” she said.

 As rhino poaching escalated, South Africa had to adapt and entered into several collaborative agreements to ensure that wildlife is protected and properly managed.

“The South African government at a Cabinet level approved an Integrated Strategic Management Approach for the protection and management of rhino in the country.

“This approach is implemented in collaboration with the Security Cluster, comprising of the ministries of defence and military veterans (chair), justice and correctional services, the police, environmental affairs and state-owned entities, such as the State Security Agency, South African Revenue Service, National Prosecuting Authority, South African National Parks  and the provincial conservation and security authorities,” the Minister said.

The integrated approach comprises specific interventions to increasing rhino numbers, which includes sharing them with other countries and strengthening law enforcement and anti-poaching capabilities.

Other objectives include working with the communities adjacent to national and provincial parks and broader awareness programmes.

SAnews.gov.za