Animal Rights organizations have hailed a decision by the South African government not to issue any license for hunting leopards in 2016.
“Provincial authorities responsible for the protection of fauna and flora were informed that hunting leopards would not be authorized in 2016”, said the South African Department of the Environment.
The move follows some recommendations put forward to protect endangered species.
“Common sense has prevailed,” said Helen Turnbull of Cape Leopard Trust.“As long as we do not know the number of leopards, we should not hunt them,” said Andrew Muir of the Wilderness Foundation.
“It is important to ensure that any wildlife trade takes into account sustainable development”, said Kelly Marnewick of Wildlife Trust.
According to the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild fauna and Flora, South Africa is allowed to allocate 150 permits for leopard trophies annually for export.
South Africa has a substantial income from the sale of hunting licenses to wealthy foreigners willing to pay thousands of dollars to shoot one of the “Big Five” that is the lion, leopard, elephant , rhino and buffalo.
According to the South African Ministry of Environment,hunting generates an annual income of 6.2 billion rand (347 million euros).