This is the time for thoughtful gifts for our loved ones to show our appreciation and caring. Sadly, it is also a time when illegally traded exotic animals and local wildlife are paraded and promoted as ‘prized’gifts.
But, did you know that the import, transportation within the Western Cape and export out of the Western Cape of all wildlife (excluding unprotected bird species) are subject to a valid Cape Nature permit? As a result, only registered zoological institutions are allowed to keep these species in captivity, and not the general public.
Permits are required for keeping exotic animals as pets in certain provinces. Conservation issues are mainly dealt with through the various provincial acts and ordinances. In Gauteng, North West, Mpumalanga and Limpopo, for example, no permits are required for the legal possession or keeping of an exotic wild animal. However, any import into, export out of, or transporting of an exotic wild animal, within any of the nine provinces, always requires a permit.
There are also other legal issues to consider. A CITES permit is required when importing or exporting an animal or plant listed on any of the three CITES appendices, across international borders.
Butterfly World Zoo in the Western Cape has hundreds of rescued small, wild animals, donated by pet owners who were unable to provide correct care or cope with the wild antics of their exotic pets. “We have over 122 species of wild animals brought to us by distraught owners needing assistance or a compassionate home for their charges. We provide these donated animals appropriate veterinary care, bespoke nutrition and a sanctuary as they
cannot be release back into the wild,” says Esther van Der Westhuizen, owner of Butterfly World Zoo.
In the 21 years since opening their Tropical Garden for the extravagant display of butterflies, Butterfly World Zoo have expanded their facilities for the care of birds, snakes, fish, monkeys, terrapins, owls, iguana, an array of pygmy hedgehogs, the ever intriguing meerkats, and even an arctic fox! The Zoo also receives into their care many animals confiscated from illegal traders – usually by the conservation and welfare authorities.
In a cautionary note from Cape Nature Conservation, they explain that permits are needed for exotic wild animals, which are bred and traded for the pet market. It’s especially important to know that the new owner is also required to have a Wild Animal In Captivity permit.
See also: Butterfly World Saving The Unwanted
Be responsible about the gift of animals this season. Adopt a pet from the SPCA or other rescue organisations. As for wild animals: Appreciate, don’t keep!”
Animals at Butterfly World Zoo have become ambassadors to teach Zoo visitors about their characteristics, home ranges and special attributes. Lead by professional educators throughout the holidays, there is education and demonstrations to suit every age and interest.
The Zoo’s keepers, educators and animal ambassadors have been preparing new exhibits for the many holiday visitors that flock to Butterfly World Zoo just off the R44 outside Klapmuts, Western Cape.
For more info go to: [email protected] or call (021) 875-5628 or Facebook Butterfly World Zoo