Johannesburg - The South African National Parks says it is concerned at the high number of fake social media accounts created under the guise of the organisation.

SANParks Head of Communications Janine Raftopoulos on Friday said accounts by various groups were mushrooming and that these groups were using the organisation's name for personal and commercial gain.

 According to Raftopoulos, there is currently between 30 to 60 active platforms on social media, claiming to have links with SANParks. 

“This practice constitutes an infringement of SANParks registered trademarks which could result in litigation,” she said.

Raftopoulos added the practice has seen the establishments of indiviRaftopoulosduals acting as travel agents, people creating mobile apps, publishers of literature, maps, magazines, diaries, marketing apparel, domain names, crowdfund sourcing agents, third party emergency contact numbers whom. 

She said, as a result, many in the public domain have been misled. 

"It is important to note that fundraising can only be done officially through the SANParks website and the Honorary Rangers."

Raftopoulos said the current activities were undertaken without SANParks permission. 

“It is for this reason that SANParks would like to make the public aware, and more importantly inform those behind these platforms, that there are legal implications whereby SANParks may institute legal proceedings, should people continue using its name or national parks under its management unlawfully," added  Raftopoulos.

The Star