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It is illegal to purchase any indigenous wildlife without a permit, warns the NSPCA

‘Cool drink’ hawkers along the main roads of popular holiday destinations often have an alternative in mind – offering a chameleon or tortoise to unsuspecting people for money. Picture: NSPCA

‘Cool drink’ hawkers along the main roads of popular holiday destinations often have an alternative in mind – offering a chameleon or tortoise to unsuspecting people for money. Picture: NSPCA

Published Dec 22, 2021

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DURBAN - The National Council of SPCAs (NSPCA) has called on people not to purchase wildlife without a permit.

The NSPCA said the support by mostly well-intentioned holidaymakers has a devastating role in the abuse of our wildlife.

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The organisation said “cool drink” hawkers along the main roads of popular holiday destinations often have an alternative in mind – offering a chameleon or tortoise to unsuspecting people for money.

“It is illegal to purchase any indigenous wildlife without a permit and those that have bought the reptile may face prosecution in terms of the provincial ordinance, the National Environmental Biodiversity Act 10 of 2004 and possibly the Animals Protection Act 71 of 1962. The nett result is that the illegal trade is stimulated when the public buys these animals, and more animals are illegally caught from the wild,” the NSPCA said.

The organisation said the keeping conditions of the unsold animals are poor to say the least. Often the diet and confinement cause a long, painful death with a great deal of suffering - sadly like this chameleon.

The NSPCA said the keeping conditions of the unsold animals are poor to say the least. Often the diet and confinement cause a long, painful death with a great deal of suffering - sadly like this chameleon. Picture: NSPCA

“Do not buy these animals – you would not want to spend your holiday in a holding cell for an assumed good deed,” the NSPCA said.

How to help:

  • Take photos and videos of the hawkers if it is safe for you to do so – a dash cam is the greatest aid.
  • Do not ask if they are selling wildlife – rather let them make the offer to you and record it.
  • Take careful note of the clothing, location, and any identifying features of the hawkers.
  • Have an affidavit written out and certified by the SAPS.

“Although the NSPCA has several criminal cases against the perpetrators and carries out raids whenever in the area, until justice is served, our wildlife remains at risk. Do not support this cruel, destructive, and highly illegal action by supporting these hawkers,” the NSPCA said.

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