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About Herptile Permits In South Africa - Indigenous & Exotic Species


| Introduction | Indigenous Animals | Exotic Animals | The Author's Opinion | Related Topics |
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The goal of this page is to introduce the reader to some of the "known" rules and regulations set out by local and greater governmental bodies to attempt to protect our local fauna and flora by regulating the traffic of indigenous and exotic animal species. It is written with reptiles, amphibians and arachnids in mind but some sections might be interpreted in the broader sense to include all animal species.

Indigenous animals, usually indigenous to a country (state or province), include those that are found living naturally in that country. Although a species should be seen as indigenous even if its not found exclusively in that country, it is not always the case. Exotic animals, usually exotic to a country (state or province), include all those that are not naturally found in that country. Some laws see a species that are not exclusively found in a country as exotic. For example the Multimammate mouse (Rattus natalensis) occurs naturally in South African, but it also occurs naturally all over Africa. Some laws will this species as an exotic species, but others as indigenous.

The content of this page may change at any time and should therefore only be used as guidelines. For the most recent information contact your local Nature Conservation or similar institute. Please feel free to inform us on any changes or additional information, your contribution will be appreciated. Use our Contact page or the mail form at the bottom of this page to get in contact with us.

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Indigenous Animals:

Gauteng, South Africa

  • No wild or indigenous animal, including mammals, birds and reptiles, may be transported or be in the custody of someone without a transport or a keeping permit. In other words, it is illegal to own, keep, breed, trade or transport any indigenous animal or their eggs without a permit!

  • Herptile (reptile & amphibian) permits are issued by the director of Nature Conservation and will only be issued through a Herpetological Society that is recognized by the director of Nature Conservation.

  • Permits will only be issued for "problem animals" removed by a professional with a so-called "catching permit" or for newborn animals bred in captivity from parents that are already on permit.

  • No permit will be issued for an animal that was caught or removed as a problem animal by a person without a catching permit.

  • After a "professional catcher" has a problem animal on permit, the permit and the animal can be transferred to another persons name. Transfer application can only be done through a Herpetological Society.

  • Permits can only be transferred to and from active members of a Herpetological Society.

  • Application for permits must be approved by the chairperson of a Herpetological Society or someone else that was approved by the director of Nature Conservation.

  • Catching permits will only be issued to experienced members of Herpetological Societies.

  • Nature Conservation has the right to fine and remove any indigenous animal when no permit can be displayed, any of the conditions are not met or when the animal is kept in poor conditions.

Permits holders are subjected to the following:

  • Breeding records of all animals must be kept

  • Animals on permit can only be donated to another member of a Herpetological Society that is recognized by the director of Nature Conservation

  • Venomous reptiles must be kept in locked enclosures with permanent locking facilities

Laws and regulations are currently actively under discussion by Nature Conservation and other bodies of the state. The abovementioned regulations may change at any time.

This section is based on rules and regulations set out for reptiles and amphibians by Gauteng Nature Conservation, but can be used as general guideline for other South African provinces.

Other South African Provinces

Each province in South Africa are regulated by their own Nature Conservation. Kwazulu-Natal is not subjected to the conditions stated under the Gauteng regulations, (but is currently undergoing changes). Some wild reptiles and amphibians in this province can be kept and sold in pet shops without the need of keeping or transporting permits. There are however still a few species that needs permits.

Exotic Animals:
Gauteng, South Africa

Currently only exotic animal species, imported before the ban on further imports, are allowed in this province. Exotic animals obtained from a province other than Gauteng can only be transported into, or imported with the correct transfer and transport permits issued by Gauteng Nature Conservation.

Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa

There are no regulations on exotic species and as far as the author's knowledge, this province serves as at least one of the ports for the import of exotic animals into South Africa. Some people in the province advertise freely that they possess import permits and can import on request. Import was made illegal into South Africa a few centuries ago.

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The Author's Opinion:

The keeping of exotic and indigenous animals should be allowed. The regulations on the catching and issuing of permits are adequate as stated above, but they should put more emphasis on the role of Herpetological societies. These societies should make it their responsibility (with the help of the local Nature Conservation and zoos) to inform and educate people on the legal aspects of keeping indigenous species. By keeping and breeding indigenous species in captivity we might learn and discover more about these species which may aid in the conservation and prevention of instinction of rare species. Herpetological societies should also educate the public on the legal aspects and the possible effects (impact) on our local fauna and flora when exotic species escape from captivity.

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"If you think I should add more information to this section, think that something is incorrect or you have any additional information regarding the rules and regulations on the keeping of indigenous and exotic species in South Africa or any other country, use the form below or go to our contact page to get in touch."

Last updated 29 December 2007 by Renier Delport

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"Always remember only to buy healthy animals from reputable pet shops and breeders. Make sure to buy animals that are captive bred in your own country and that it is not illegally imported or caught from the wild."

Related Topics:

General Snake Care Sheet
Accessories & Other Stuff For Herptiles
Suitable Substrates For Herptiles
General Animal Bio-security & Quarantine
Record Keeping
General Zoology

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| Introduction | Indigenous Animals | Exotic Animals | The Author's Opinion | Related Topics |
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