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Media Release: Wild animals must not be treated as pets

Date: 3rd December 2009

With the festive holidays approaching fast many people will be on the road to various holiday destinations including national parks. “It is for this reason that SANParks call upon many of those visiting the parks to enjoy responsibly and refrain from treating wild animals as pets that need to be fed,” said Wanda Mkutshulwa, Head of Communications at SANParks.

With the festive holidays approaching fast many people will be on the road to various holiday destinations including national parks. “It is for this reason that South African National Parks (SANParks) call upon many of those visiting the parks to enjoy responsibly and refrain from treating wild animals as pets that need to be fed,” said Wanda Mkutshulwa, Head of Communications at SANParks.

Mkutshulwa said wild animals are different from those found in zoos or even at home, they are used to fending for themselves in the wild as nature requires. “Therefore throwing food at the animals could mean signing their death warrants.”

According to Mkutshulwa rules and regulations are enforced under the National Environmental Management: Protected Areas Act, 2003 (Act no. 57 of 2003) and transgression can result in a maximum spot fine of up to R3 500. “It is for this reason that SANParks would like to appeal to those visiting the parks during the festive season to refrain from feeding wild animals.”

She says when visiting a national park you need to ensure that you do not disturb plants, animals, special sites, or the enjoyment of other visitors. “Once inside the National park, all visitors must obey the rules as these are intended to preserve the natural, cultural and historical character of the various parks.”

Inside the protected area, there is a supervisory service by law enforcement units or ranger corps. “These personnel are responsible for applying the rules and issuing all necessary permits and fines thereof.”

The rules and regulations of the national parks, which are well communicated on entrance permits, signage and pamphlets, include the following:

  • Visitors must remain in their vehicles unless in a designated area.
  • Remember that no part of the body may protrude from a window or sunroof or any other part of the vehicle. Vehicle doors should be closed at all times.
  • Stick to the speed limit! All general rules of the road apply within the national parks. The speed limit is 50 km/h on tar roads and 40 km/h on gravel roads.

Look at the gate times in your green gate permit. You must be inside the camp or out of the gate before these times. No travelling before or after these times are allowed.

  • Gate times must be strictly adhered to and late comers may be subject to a fine.
  • You are not allowed to drive “off-road” or on roads with a “no entry” sign.
  • The feeding or disturbing of animals is a serious offence. Remember, animals see litter as food! – so please do not litter either.

Overnight visitors are only allowed to stay at a booked and recognised overnight facility and must report to reception before occupying accommodation or camping.

  • All accommodation and camping sites may be occupied from 12:00 on the day of arrival and must be vacated by 09:00 on the day of departure.
  • Vehicles of a carrying capacity exceeding 4 000kg, buses or any vehicles with more than 25 seats, are restricted to the tar roads.
  • A stringent noise restriction is enforced between 21:30 and 06:00. The use of cell phones is permitted only in camps, gates and in cases of emergency.
  • The use of roller skates, skateboards, bicycles and motorbikes is prohibited.
  • All firearms must be reported at the gates for safe keeping.
  • Visitors must refrain from feeding wild animals.
  • Starting a fire is prohibited.
  • Smoking at unmarked places is an offense.
  • Hunting or disturbing the animals is not allowed.
  • Carrying and using firearms or any other means which can be used for hunting (e.g. bows and arrows, traps, hunting nets, etc is not allowed).
  • Fishing without a special permit.
  • Entering the forests during night.
  • No commercial activities without the required permit. These include filming and photography for commercial purposes, including conducting events inside a National Park etc.

South African National Parks appeals to all our visitors at the parks to please adhere to the rules so that everyone has a great experience. “We wish everyone a happy and safe Festive Season,” concludes Mkutshulwa.

Issued by:
Reynold “Rey” Thakhuli, GM: Media, Events & Stakeholder Relations, Tel: (012) 426 4300/ 073 373 4999 or e-mail: reyt@sanparks.org

Media Enquiries:
wanda mkutshulwa, Head of Communications, Tel: (012) 426 5170 / 082 908 2692 or e-mail: wandam@sanparks.org

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