Media Release: Obeying the Rules of the KNP
14 December 2005
The Executive Director of the Kruger National Park (KNP) Dr Bandile Mkhize came out strongly against tourists, staff members, delivery vehicles and other officials who disobey the rules and regulations of the park, vowing that law enforcement officers would come down harshly on those who chose to break the rules during this festive season.
“We know that most of our guests not only obey the rules of the KNP, but also help us to enforce them by sending us photographs and reporting transgressors. For this absolute loyalty we are most grateful,” he commented.
In spite of this, certain visitors and other motorists continue to transgress the laws of the park and speeding, littering and playing loud music at day visitors’ areas are often encountered.
“We would just like to warn guests and others who partake in such activities that our law enforcers will show no mercy if they find anyone transgressing the laws of the Kruger,” added Dr Mkhize.
Littering is of particular concern to KNP rangers at the moment as, earlier this year, the situation got so bad that various camps and ranger sections were forced to organise special clean up campaigns to clean up the park.
“We shouldn’t have to organise these clean up campaigns as people should understand the dangers of littering in a natural environment like the Kruger,” said Dr Freek Venter, the KNP’s HOD of Conservation Services, “not only is litter ugly to the eye, but it can also cause extensive environmental damage if, for example, it is either consumed by animals or it gets into our river systems.”
Dr Venter adds that many believe that littering is a form of job creation but in Kruger this is counter-productive as staff used for counter poaching and other vital tasks are used to pick up litter.
According to rangers and veterinary personnel based in the KNP, litter and other foreign objects ingested by wild animals often result in death for those animals which is a tremendous shame.
“Often people don’t realise the long term effect on an animal that digests litter. Although there might not be any immediate dramatic effect, the animal often gets diarrhoea and the toxins contained in plastics and other forms of normal litter are only released once the animal has ingested the litter and these can have a serious long term effect, which often leads to chronic illness and even to the animal’s death,” said Dr Markus Hofmeyr, the Head of Veterinary Wildlife Services for SANParks.
Plastic bottles and other litter can also cause obstructions in the digestive tracts of animals and can also get caught in the horns or feet of other animals. Rangers and the KNP’s veterinary staff then have to put down the animal, which is a highly traumatic experience for any person involved in conservation.
Fines applicable to some of the transgressions include:
- Trespassing – R400
- Hunting (poaching) – Court Appearance
- Cut, damage or destroy tree or plant – R500
- Feed animals (including hyena and bushbuck at rest camps) – R400
- Get out or protrude from vehicle – R500
- Drive on “no entry” road – R500
- Speeding – Sliding scale from R100 to an immediate Court appearance, depending on speed
- Obstruct free flow of traffic – R500
- Disturb others with loud music (etc) – R400
- Littering – R400
The rules and regulations are clearly displayed on boards at entrance gates, on entry permits and special Visitor Information Guide pamphlets that have been specially printed for the busy Christmas season.
After their clean-up campaign, the staff at Olifants Camp collected this pile of old tins.
A loyal guest of the Kruger National Park sent this photograph of people transgressing the rule of getting out of one’s vehicle. The photograph was taken on one of the roads in the KNP.
Raymond Travers, Media Relations Practitioner, Kruger National Park. Contact: Tel: 013 735 4116, cell: 082 908 2677 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org