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Private ownership of wildlife in South Africa

24 February 2015

www.leopard.tv

The extensive wildlife production industry in South Africa has largely been built on a single change of legal status of wildlife in 1991. Although the first documented auction of live wildlife occurred in Bloemfontein in the then Orange Free State in April 1874, when among others zebras (quaggas), blesbok, springbok, wildebeest, greater kudus and steenbok were sold, all wildlife reverted to res nullius and became the property of the state in the constitution of the Union of South Africa in 1910. Until 1991, wildlife producers therefore had no legal claims of ownership of any wild animals that escaped or were stolen from their properties. However, in 1988, the extensive wildlife producers, as then represented by the National Game Organization, were addressed by the then President P W Botha of South Africa at their Annual General Meeting. As they were experiencing considerable theft of wildlife in specific regions, they requested that the national government examine the possibility of legislation that was specifically aimed at the theft of wildlife.

President Botha requested the South African Law Commission to look into this request and it subsequently reported to the National Game Organization executive on possible changes to the legal status of wildlife on those wildlife ranches that were fenced with wildlife-proof fences according to the specifications that were set by the various provincial conservation authorities. This eventually led to... (Become a subscriber for more)

 

References:

Anon 2002. Game Theft Act. Cape Town: Government Gazette 23548.

Bothma, J du P, H Suich and A Spenceley 2009. Extensive wildlife production on private land in South Africa. In H Suich, B Child and A Spenceley (Eds). Evolution and innovation in wildlife conservation. London, Earthscan, pp. 147 – 161.

Du Toit, J G In Press. Legislation and codes of conduct. In J du P Bothma and J G du Toit (Eds), Game ranch management, sixth edition. Pretoria: Van Schaik.

 

article by Prof J du P Bothma

 

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