Predator breeders around SA have reacted sharply to the regulations on canned lion hunting recently announced by environmental affairs and tourism minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk, saying they will lead to massive economic losses in the industry.
Chairperson of the Predator Breeders’ Association, Carel van Heerden, told Farmer’s Weekly his organisation will challenge in court certain aspects of government’s long-awaited restrictions on hunting, and will also apply to have the enforcement date moved forward. T he new threatened or protected species regulations, which will come into effect on 1 June, were announced on 20 February. Among other things, the new regulations include laws on registration and self-regulation, canned lion hunting, hunting with a bow and hunting from a vehicle. In terms of the regulations, “put and take” animals have to be released on the property for 24 months before they can be legally hunted.
“We are putting an end, once and for all, to the reprehensible practice of canned hunting. has a long-standing reputation as a global leader on conservation issues. We cannot allow our achievements to be undermined by rogue practices such as canned lion hunting,” said Van Schalkwyk. he rule that stipulates that a lion be free to roam for 24 months before it can be hunted is a major amendment, as previously regulations, such as those in North West, only required the animal to roam free for 96 hours. “Our biggest problem is that the minister is sitting on the fence. You either allow it or you don’t. So he’s claiming to allow it, but by ruling that the lion must roam freely on a farm for 24 months before it can be hunted, he’s effectively shutting down our business, and that’s devastating for us,” said Van Heerden. He said the implications of shutting down by 1 June are enormous.
“Many overseas clients have already booked for the end of the year, and paid their deposits and booked plane tickets. We need a phasing-out period if these laws must come into being.” N orth West agriculture and conservation MEC Mandlenkosi Mayisela also expressed concern about the economic impact of the new regulations. “In the period from October 2004 to September 2005, professional lion hunting brought in million or R42 million in hunting fees for the province.” However, Stewart Dorrington, president of the Professional Hunters’ Association of SA, said the regulations were a chance for the hunting industry to clean up its image by clamping down on lion breeders. he World Wildlife Fund for Nature welcomed the move, saying it would make the hunting and game farming industry more sustainable. The NSPCA also approved of the new laws, and said the ban would improve ethical standards of hunting on a national level. – Gwenda van Zyl The regulations are available on http://www.environment.gov.za.