Published: Sunday 28 February 1999

-- The Endangered Species Protection Unit ( espu ) of South Africa ( sa ) has come under fire for accepting us $460, 000 from an overseas animal welfare organisation to conduct a "secret" investigation whose outcome could go against country's stance in international conservation politics.

The espu , an arm of the sa Police Service, was contracted last year by the us -based International Fund for Animal Welfare ( ifaw ) to investigate elephant poaching and enforcement capacity in 12 African countries: Ethiopia, Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Zambia, Botswana, Namibia, Cameroon and South Africa. Historically, the ifaw has opposed the trade or use of animals or animal products, while the South African government supports "sustainable utilisation", that is, controlled wildlife trade. The Rhino and Elephant Foundation ( ref ), Endangered Wildlife Trust ( ewt ) and others of the sustainable utilisation camp charge that the espu had no business accepting funds from an overseas organisation with a "clear agenda" to influence the upcoming meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora ( cites ) standing committee, which will determine the future of ivory trade.

Subscribe to Weekly Newsletter :

Comments are moderated and will be published only after the site moderator’s approval. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name. Selected comments may also be used in the ‘Letters’ section of the Down To Earth print edition.