Crocodile shoes? Let's see your permit

If you wear crocodile shoes, have an elephant leather wallet, or possess an ivory chess set, you will have to have a permit to own them from February 1 next year. If you have a cycad in your garden and you want to give it to your neighbour, you will have to have a permit.

This will be the effect of regulations published in the Government Gazette on Friday.
The regulations are amendments to those published in February, but the implementation was delayed for further consultation.

The new rules mark the first time that the protection of threatened species has been regulated nationally. Before this, provinces had their own rules.

One of the main amendments to the rules is that ivory jewellery will not have to be marked. Only elephant ivory pieces longer than 20cm and weighing more than a kilogram will have to be marked.

Provinces had rules that applied to raw elephant tusks, but the new rules will apply to all elephant ivory.

Other amendments to the rules include the exclusion—for the moment—of lions from the list of protected predators. The exclusion follows the advice of lawyers, who told Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism Marthinus van Schalkwyk that the regulations might be regarded as interfering with a court case which finds him being sued by lion breeders.

Rhinoceroses, however, are included in the list of predators. The new regulations require that when a rhino is bought it cannot be hunted the moment it lumbers off the truck to its new range. It must be allowed a specified period of time in an open system in the veld.

“The minister thought that it was unfair that hunters were already waiting for it,” said Sonja Meintjies, acting director of regulation and monitoring at the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism. The regulations are published in terms of the National Environmental Management and Biodiversity Act of 2004. ‒ I-Net Bridge

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