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By Editorial staff

Journalist


Animals are no longer truly wild

Government wants to tighten up rules on the breeding and sale of threatened or protected species.


South Africa takes pride in its wildlife.

Sadly, though, the pervasive influence of humankind over the environment means our animals are no longer truly wild, because they are managed by us.

That is evident from the current standoff between Forestry, Fisheries and Environmental Affairs Minister Barbara Creecy and her department and representatives of the hunting industry and wildlife ranching sector.

The department wants to tighten up rules on the breeding and sale of threatened or protected species – currently like bontebok, mountain zebra, oribi and rhinoceros, but which has been expanded to include blesbok, wildebeest and sable antelope – primarily to help prevent inbreeding.

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However, opponents of the regulations say there will be huge costs in having to provide DNA certificates for the export of animals, something which could badly affect wildlife ranching profitability.

They also claim inbreeding is not happening on a large scale, something which is disputed by an ecologist.

The wildlife industry also claims that current regulations in the sector are poorly enforced and that more rules won’t make matters any better.

As a generator of jobs and foreign currency, the industry does have a point – but so do those concerned about the genetic wildlife legacy we leave behind.

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