South Africa Veterinarian Council Declares Green Rhino Hunts Unethical


Published: January - 2011

Hunters looking at rhino and lion hunts in South Africa should be aware of two developments that will affect hunting opportunity for these species. First, the Department of Environmental Affairs accepted recommendations by the Veterinarian's Council regarding the darting of rhinos and stopped issuing permits for these so-called green hunts this past August. That new regulation makes it illegal for anyone but a veterinarian to administer medicines for the purpose of tranquilizing or anaesthetizing an animal, and the Veterinary Council has officially declared it unethical for veterinarians to be involved in darting safaris.

The policy was implemented this past summer, but only five dart hunts were reportedly affected. Moving forward, however, hunters should know that "green" rhino hunts in which the hunter shoots the animal with a tranquilizing drug are now illegal in South Africa. Be wary of any offers for a darted hunt. I have heard of a number of such hunts being offered as donations to hunting organizations organizing fundraising auctions. So, beware!

That said, Irvin Tam of Tam Safaris (tamfarms@intekom.co.za) contacted me about a proposal he submitted to the East Cape Department of Economic Affairs, Environment and Tourism that would still allow hunters to participate in a "green" rhino hunt of sorts. Tam says rhinos often must be darted to administer medications and even vitamin supplements, especially in some areas of the Eastern Cape where these animals have been found deficient in certain vitamins and minerals. Tam's proposal is to allow hunters to shoot a dart that delivers such medication. Once the rhino is hit by a dart, he says it typically runs off, allowing the veterinarian to administer a tranquilizer for other purposes if necessary and possibly giving the hunter involved the opportunity to take photos with the animal.

According to a letter I saw from Jaap Piennar, deputy director, compliance and enforcement with the Eastern Cape Department of Economic Affairs, Environment & Tourism, the idea complies with the TOPS (Threatened Or Protected Species) regulations. A TOPS permit is still required for shooting the dart full of vitamin supplements,........(continued)

 
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