Adaptive governance of Cape mountain zebra - can it work?

Adaptive governance and network governance theory provide a useful conceptual framework to guide the conservation of threatened species in complex multi-actor, multi-jurisdictional social ecological systems. We use principles from this theory to assess. strengths and weaknesses in (1) national legislation, and (2) the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) Regulations applicable to the conservation of the Cape mountain zebra (Equus zebra zebra) (CMZ) in South Africa. A legislated conservation tool, Biodiversity Management Plans for Species (BMP-S), establishes a collaborative network of role players and facilitates the important principles of collaborative learning and adaptation. Effective governance of this network is critical to success, but challenging because of a mandate gap and limited capacity in government to provide essential network-level competencies.National regulations governing human use of CMZ (Threatened or Protected Species (TOPS) Regulations) accords with the principles of (1) being developed in consultation with stakeholders and (2) open to revision and adaptation. CITES Regulations also provide adequately for adaptation. Poor alignment of regulations between different regulatory authorities in South Africa and limited capacity for implementation of regulations seriously constrain learning and adaptation.