What Is The Fate Of Dart Hunts For Rhino In South Africa


Published: May - 2007

Next door in South Africa, I've fielded a few questions recently from subscribers who wonder what the fate will be of dart hunts for rhino after the new hunting regulations come into effect later this spring. I promptly floated the question by Peter Butland, President-Elect of PHASA (Professional Hunters Association of South Afrca). He answered by quoting Subregulation 4, which says that Reg. 26(1)(a)(v) `does not prevent the darting of an animal by a veterinarian or a person authorized in writing by a veterinarian (emphasis mine) and in possession of a valid permit from immobilizing or tranquilizing an animal for the purpose of: (a) Carrying out a disease-control procedure or scientific experiment or for management purposes; (b) Veterinary treatment of an animal; or (c) Translocating or transporting an animal.

Is this enough wiggle room for a limited number of hunters to be able to continue to dart rhinos? Butland says he thinks so. If the darting takes place under the above conditions by someone other than a vet it will, according to our understanding, still be legal after June of this year, he writes.

If there is wiggle room on darting of rhinos, does that suggest there might ultimately be some wiggle room on the killing of captive lions? Continuing subscribers know the new regulations say that captive lions may be hunted only after they have been in the place they are to be hunted for 24 months. The stipulation is widely believed to make captive lion hunting economically unfeasible.

Already, however, we have reported on one ranch owner who says he has been given a waiver of the 24-month requirement. He says other waivers are in the works. More significant still, we received a call this past month from an agent active in the promotion of captive lion hunts, and he pooh-poohs the idea that captive lion hunting is on its way out. It's just not going to be stopped, he said. There is too much money involved.

Does anyone else have input into this matter? Personally, I do........(continued)

 
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