31 January 2005

Tourism dept condemns canned hunting

MINISTER of environmental affairs and tourism Marthinus van Schalkwyk has said that government condemns the practice of canned hunting and has published a draft document that he says will aid the department in eliminating the ?abysmal practice?.

On February 28, the minister published a draft document on the norms and standards for the sustainable utilisation of large predators as well as regulations on the keeping and hunting of indigenous predators in the government gazette.

?The publication of the draft norms and standards and regulations will provide the opportunity to the South African public to assist government to achieve an acceptable national position regarding the keeping and hunting of large predators,? said Van Schalkwyk. He added that government has, since 1997, condemned canned hunting.

The aims of the draft norms and standards and draft regulations are:
*To provide a national approach and minimum standards to all aspects relating to the management of large predators;
*To regulate the hunting of large predators;
*To promote the ethical hunting of large predators;
*To regulate the control of damage-causing animals;
*To protect the rights of owners of properties neighbouring those on which large predators are introduced;
*To regulate the import and export of large predators;
*To protect the genetic integrity of indigenous predator populations; and
*To ensure sustainable use of large predators.

?These norms and standards are the minimum and do not prevent provincial policies from being more restrictive,? added Van Schalkwyk.

The norms, standards and regulations will be effective from July 1 and they will be enforced in terms of the provisions of the Biodiversity Act.

Cheetah; spotted hyena; wild dog; brown hyena; lion; and leopard will, according to the department, be covered by these norms and standards and these animals will be listed as threatened and protected species in terms of the Biodiversity Act.

The closing date for public comment is March 15.


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