11th March 2019
Dear Rhino Owners and Reserve Managers,
PROA participation at CITES CoP 18
As previously advised, PROA will attend CoP18 to be held in Sri Lanka from 23rd May to 3rd June as a registered NGO. This will enable us to participate in the various meetings, proposal discussions and give support to Namibia and Eswatini (Swaziland) on their rhino proposals.
DEA have requested that PROA form part of the SA CITES delegation to assist at CoP18, we will participate in Side Events where the ‘Rhino Species Survival in South Africa’ (including the need for Sustainable Utilization) will be presented, PROA will present on the conservation burden and funding needs of private reserves. Further DEA have proposed the establishment of a task team to develop a CITES strategy and action plan. This strategy to address both trade and CBO applications between now and the next CoP.
We have advised DEA that we will require a MOA signed by the parties as we have learnt a bitter lesson in dealing with or trusting Government.
It must be noted that beyond lobbying for Sustainable Utilisation and Legal Trade, PROA acts on behalf of owners on matters of legislation, policy and security. PROA is currently busy developing a national security strategy around all Key Populations in partnership with National and Provincial Parks. Once finalized we hope to raise international funding to help protect these zones which will include private populations.
We participate on all rhino forum meetings including enforcement and policy, this involves a substantive amount of time and often legal advice. We have served our members on various commissions, working groups and public participation events, including the RIM report, CoI and the Rhino Lab. We will also nominate delegates to serve on the DEA High-level Panel of Experts to be appointed per Gazette Notice No 42247.
Our earlier request for funding has not been very successful, PROA has very limited funds available and urgently requests member donations and financial assistance to cover our CITES expenses of; airfare, accommodation, registration, PR and marketing material, as well as to cover our monthly operations including legal services. Our budget needs for CoP18 alone is just over R100 000.00.
Please could members who will be holding auctions also consider the sale of an animal or auction items and for the funds to be donated to our association?
We do not charge member fees and are 100% reliant on member donations, PROA is a registered Non-Profit Company (NPC registration 2015/324972/08). The AFS of the association are audited annually and we are up to date with SARS and corporate compliance requirements.
Members who have not as yet registered to attend the WRSA conference are strongly encouraged to do so, there is an excellent agenda plus the annual dinner, and the awards ceremony is always a highlight. PROA with the kind permission of WRSA have put up a few auction items and these are to help raise funds to help cover our CITES expenses. Please try to attend the WRSA Conference on the 6th April at the CSIR Conference Centre and support PROA on our auction items.
Our thanks to those of you who have kindly assisted thus far but we remain far short of our funding needs.
An invoice can be issued if required for members donating:
Banking Details: Private Rhino Owners Association
Bank: First National Bank (FNB)
Account Number: 62427189651
Branch: Cradlestone Mall – code: 210 636
Please remember we carry the conservation burden of 50% of the national herd and more rhino than the rest of Africa combined. Due to poaching, the international trade ban and obstructive conduct by DEA over past years, we have seen a loss in rhino values of some 67%. Based on our survey data we are now spending on average R112 500 per rhino per year on security and management costs (R2 billion a year). Now more than ever we need to change the mentality and thinking of CITES Member States, that the 42-year trade ban has been a terrible failure, has not saved the life of a single rhino and has been instrumental in helping create a vast trans-national illegal trade where our rhino are slaughtered and criminals profiteer to vast $ values.
If we calculate the asset loss of some 8 000 rhino poached in SA since 2008 plus the 67% devaluation in rhino values as a result of poaching and the trade ban, the loss of production from the animals poached, this equates to some US$700 million or R9,8 billion loss to South Africa under the failed CITES ban!!
This is the message we will take to CoP18.
Help us to stop the killing of our rhino, allow for legal trade from stockpiles and take poaching pressure away from our live animals through a transparent and regulated trade that will bring conservation revenue back to National, Provincial and Private Reserves.
Per our survey results; 85% of owners support trade, 14% were undecided and only 1% indicated an anti-trade position
Your kind support is appreciated.
Pelham Jones 082 299 3161