Cape Nature, the leading conservation authority in the Western Cape, has denied claims that a proposed safari park in Kleinmond will be home to lions or offer elephant rides.
Cape Town residents and animal welfare activists have raised concerns about the plans to open the Lamloch Safari Park on the R44.
It's been alleged that the park will offer tourist activities such as elephant riding and other close animal encounters.
However, CapeNature, the regulatory authority which issues conservation permits, has dismissed these allegations in a statement provided to CapeTalk.
Meanwhile, the National Council of SPCAs (NSPCA) says CapeNature has not been forthcoming with information about the permits.
NSPCA's wildlife manager Doug Wolhuter says the fynbos area is fit for shade, shelter and foraging.
Wolhuter says it is not the appropriate habitat for elephants or black rhinos, which he says are alleged to be some of the wildlife being brought to the park.
From what we understand, they are at the final stages of the permit-issuing process.— Doug Wolhuter, Wildlife manager - NSPCA
We're completely opposed to elephant interactions.— Doug Wolhuter, Wildlife manager - NSPCA
Several antelope appear to have been approved for the game park. CapeNatuture insists that there will only be elephant walks and contact sessions, but no elephant rides on offer.
Below is the full statement from CapeNature:
CapeNature does not support, condone nor encourage non-essential human/wildlife contact or interaction. CapeNature regards such activity as highly irresponsible, undesirable and potentially dangerous and urges any permit-holder to refrain therefrom at all times.As the biodiversity conservation authority in the Western Cape, CapeNature is guided by the Nature Conservation Ordinance No. 19 of 1974 and the National Norms and Standards of Elephants in South Africa.
Game Management Plan
The Lamloch Safari Park Game Management Plan was submitted to CapeNature in October 2015 and was approved during May 2018. The plan did not include activities related to human/wildlife contact and was thus being compliant and in line with all the regulatory requirements and the relevant environmental legislation. The following game species has been approved for the Lamloch Safari Park: · bontebok · plains zebra · red hartebeest · Cape eland · Cape buffalo · springbok · kudu Permits for the following species have since been issued: · gemsbok · kudu · red hartebeest · springbok · eland · bontebok
It is important to note that LSP GMP was only approved for the above species. The management plan was not approved for lion, rhino, hippo or cheetah, as has been reported on social media, and no management plan(s) has, to date, been submitted for these species.
Lion in captivity
CapeNature has not received an application for lion. Should there be a request for lion (or any other predator species) then a predator application process will need to follow, which will include a lion/predator management plan submission and evaluation.
Elephant Management Plan
The Lamloch Safari Park Elephant Management Plan (EMP) is in the final stage of the evaluation process.
The LSP EMP states that there will be elephant/human contact sessions, albeit under very controlled circumstances in line with the elephant interaction rules.
The objective of the facility as a tourism venture is to provide elephant walks in a controlled environment. No elephant riding will be offered.
The local authority was approached with the application and it was confirmed that no listed activities in terms of NEMA will be triggered by the development.
The acquisition, translocation and keeping of elephants must be in accordance with the National Norms andStandards of Elephants in South Africa (ENS) and the provisions of Ordinance 19 of 1974. The introduction of the elephants is subject to a final inspection and approval of the fencing and electrification of the facility. CapeNature does not permit breeding with captive elephants and therefore measures to prevent and mitigate breeding must be implemented at all times.
CapeNature’s legal mandate does not cover domesticated animals and therefore the wild horses do not form part of our permitting process.
Animal welfare issues are addressed in terms of the Performing Animals Protection Act (PAPA), of which Lamloch Safari Park needs to get a licence from the State Vet. CapeNature does not have the legal mandate to implement the PAPA.
Members of the public can partake in the public participation process of Lamloch Safari Park by clicking here.
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This article first appeared on CapeTalk : Planned Kleinmond game park won't keep lions or host elephant rides - CapeNature