South Africa’s proposal to transfer the Cape Mountain Zebra (Equus zebra zebra) from Appendix I to Appendix II has been adopted at the 17th Conference of Parties (COP17) to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) currently underway in Johannesburg.
The Minister of Environmental Affairs, Dr Edna Molewa, delivered an intervention at CITES COP17 which notes that the Cape Mountain Zebra subspecies is endemic to South Africa and “no longer meets the biological criteria for an Appendix I listing.”
South Africa's conservation of this species has been extraordinary – from less than 100 individual animals in the 1990's to well over 5 000 in 2016.
The national population has increased steadily since the early 1990s, with the annual rate of increase from 2009 to 2015 measured at just over 9%,” says Minister Molewa.
In August 2015, the population of Cape Mountain Zebra comprised a minimum of around 4 800 individuals in no less than 75 subpopulations that are well distributed over the historical range of the subspecies.
As a result, the Cape Mountain Zebra is no longer threatened with extinction, having recently been assessed as Least Concern in accordance with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.
The transfer of Cape Mountain Zebra to Appendix II supports the management and conservation of this subspecies, as it opens up additional economic opportunities that can support the expansion of available habitat and better management of subpopulations on private land. “Private ranchers currently play an important role in conserving almost a third of the national population and the aim is to strengthen their involvement in the meta-population management of the Cape Mountain Zebra,” said Minister Molewa.
South Africa has already undertaken some analyses and modelling to determine conditions for adaptive management of Cape Mountain Zebra and the setting of offtake quotas.
Minister Molewa acknowledged and thanked the South African National Biodiversity Institute, the University of Cape Town, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, and Cape Nature for their collaboration and scientific research in ensuring that a well-informed policy decision is taken relating to the appropriate CITES listing of Cape Mountain Zebra in South Africa.
Distributed by APO on behalf of Republic of South Africa: Department of Government Communication and Information.
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