The Scientific Authority
What we do
The main functions of the Scientific Authority are to:
- Monitor the legal and illegal trade in specimens of TOPS (Threatened or Protected) species and CITES species (species included on the Appendices to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora)
- Make recommendations to an issuing authority on applications for permits to trade in TOPS species
- Make and publish non-detriment findings on the impact of trade on the survival of species in the wild
- Advise on the registration of ranching operations, nurseries, and captive breeding facilities
- Advise on amendments to TOPS listings and prohibition of restricted activities
- Advise on the nomenclature of species in trade
- Assist with identifying species in trade and issue certificates in which the identification of a specimen is verified as being taxonomically accurate
Where we work
The Scientific Authority is active nationally and in all 9 provinces of South Africa.
Reason for our programme
The Scientific Authority has been established in terms of Section 60 of the National Environmental Management Biodiversity Act (2004). The purpose of the Scientific Authority is to assist with regulating trade in TOPS and CITES listed species. This is achieved by making non-detriment findings and providing recommendations and advice based on a scientific and professional review of available information.
What we have achieved
To date six meetings of the Scientific Authority have been convened, the last of which was held in Cape Town on 14-16 February 2012. The following issues are currently on the agenda of the Scientific Authority:
- The cycad extinction crisis and the trade in cycads
- Non detriment findings for Critically Endangered cycads
- Resource status of the popularly traded plants Aloe ferox, Pachypodium bispinosum, Pachypodium succulentum and Pelargonium sidoides
- Harvesting of honeybush tea in the Eastern Cape
- A hunting quota for mountain zebra
- Status of and trade in lion
- Amendments to Threatened or Protected species lists
- Contribution of game ranches to biodiversity conservation
- Selective breeding of colour morphs in the game industry
- Species identification tool for law enforcement officers
- Non detriment finding for white rhino
- Controlled trade in rhino horn and export of live rhino
- Non detriment finding for the Cape parrot
Who we are
The members of the Scientific Authority include one representative from each of the nine provincial conservation authorities of South Africa, together with representatives from the Department of Environmental Affairs, SANBI, SANParks, the National Zoological Gardens, and one member to represent museums.
SANBI is responsible for the logistical and administrative functions of the Scientific Authority.
How to contact us
The Scientific Authority can be contacted through the Scientific Co-ordinator, Michèle Pfab.