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May Custodian Insights and Courses

Dear Custodians,

We are taking our Custodian Insights  and Courses online!

The following insight is coming up in May: 

Tortoises and Natural Food – tomorrow (May 21) at 17:00. Space is limited to 10 people and so booking is essential. Please follow the link on the events page, or alternatively contact Michaela at adminsupport@freemekzn.co.za to book. Insights are free and for Custodians only! 

Tortoises and Natural Food: https://www.facebook.com/events/231142454654585/ 

The following course is coming up in May:

Wildlife Babies – When to Intervene – 28 May at 17:00. Space is also limited, so please book through the events page, or contact Michaela at adminsupport@freemekzn.co.za to book. There is a small charge for the course, which is open to Custodians and non-Custodians. Cost for Custodians is R60 and for non-Custodians is R100

Wildlife Babies – When to Intervene: https://www.facebook.com/events/2436389326689874/ 

Please keep checking the events page for more courses and insights coming up.

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Goeiedag WRSA-lede, (Please see English below) 

Hierby aangeheg, die volgende belangrike dokumente:

  1. ‘n Opsomming van die Direktief wat op 14 Mei deur Minister Barbara Creecy gepubliseer is.
    Dit bevat onder meer ‘n lys van wildsbestuursaktiwiteite en bepalings hoe dit onderneem mag word.

    Die volle direktief met meer detail inligting, asook ‘n lys van dienste wat deur owerhede gelewer sal word en kontakbesonderhede van nasionale en provinsiale omgewingsowerhede, is beskikbaar op die WRSA webtuiste: https://www.wrsa.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/20200514-National-Gazette-No-43323-of-14-May-2020-Volume-659.pdf

  1. WRSA Riglyne vir uitdunning, wat gebaseer is op die details soos vervat in die Minister se Direktiewe.
    Dit is ook beskikbaar op die WRSA webtuiste:  https://www.wrsa.co.za/2020-may-15-wrsa-guidelines-for-culling-activities/

Die goeie nuus is dat baie van die voorstelle soos deur WRSA op 29 April aan COGTA voorgestel is, ingesluit is in die Direktief van minister Creecy wat op 14 Mei gepubliseer is. Dit sluit onder meer in:

  • Uitdunning van wild;
  • Vang van wild;
  • Vervoer en verskuiwing  (insluitend lewende diere en wildsvleis oor provinsiale grense); en
  • Verkoop of andersins verhandeling (insluitend lewende veilings met sekere beperkings).

Die uitvoer van jagtrofeë wat ons ‘n ruk gelede met minister Creecy bespreek het, is ook toegelaat asook die uitvoer van wildsvleis in ooreenstemming met die regulatoriese vereistes van die Wet op Vleisveiligheid van 2000. 



Good day WRSA members,

Attached hereto, are the following important documents:

  1. A summary of the Directions as published by Minister Barbara Creecy on 14 May 2020.

    Full details are available in the Directions, which also include a list of services to be provided by issuing authorities and contact details of these national and provincial environmental authorities.
    The Directions are available on the WRSA website:  https://www.wrsa.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/20200514-National-Gazette-No-43323-of-14-May-2020-Volume-659.pdf

  2. WRSA Guidelines for Culling, guided by the content of the Directions.
    This document is also available on our website: https://www.wrsa.co.za/2020-may-15-wrsa-guidelines-for-culling-activities/

The good news is that many of the proposals that WRSA submitted to COGTA on 29 April, have been included in Minister Creecy’s Directive which was published on 14 May.  These include, amongst others: 

  • Culling;
  • Catching or capturing;
  • Conveying, moving or otherwise translocating (including live animals and game meat across provincial borders); and
  • Selling or otherwise trading (including live auctions with certain restrictions).

Export of hunting trophies, which we discussed with Minister Creecy in a meeting a while ago, is also permitted, as well as the export of venison/game meat in accordance with the regulatory requirements of the Meat Safety Act of 2000.

2020 May 15 WRSA Guidelines for culling operations on private wildlife ranches
2020 May 18 WRSA Summary of Directions published by Minister of Environm

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Custodian Newsletter May 2020

The value of tagging rehabilitated wildlife has proved its worth over the last month with two previously admitted cases arriving at the FreeMe Wildlife centre. While some people feel that seeing a wild animal with an ear tag, tracking collar or ID ring is not aesthetically appealing, the benefits far outweigh the drawbacks.


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Welcome to the first national membership newsletter for 2020!

Before we launch into what’s been keeping our members and supporters busy in the first few months of the year, I just want to highlight the outstanding achievements that were recognised at the organisation’s 93rd AGM hosted by the Northern Areas Region in Muldersdrift, Gauteng, in September last year.


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Custodian Newsletter – April 2020

Our disconnection to nature becomes sadly apparent when faced with monumental global crisis’ such as the Corona Virus outbreak. As soon as something effects our own species, we sit up and pay attention.

Click click here to download PDF.

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As an organisation that is permitted to deal with all indigenous mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and even invertebrates, we are committed to giving each and every patient, no matter what they are, the very best care we can to ensure they can be returned to the wild.
But not all wildlife is viewed in equal terms, or at least with a neutral respect for their role in the environment. Some species have the ‘cuteness’ factor, while others are viewed as repulsive. Yet this categorization is only a human observation, and as such, we humans do certain species a huge disservice by inadvertently labelling them as less desirable, less appreciated and less wanted than others.

Click click here to download PDF.

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Dear Custodian, Please find attached the newsletter for February 2020. All the upcoming courses and events are listed on the last page, so please have a look to see if you are interested in attending any of those as booking is essential. The Karkloof Conservancy are also having a Wetlands @ Night experience (see information below) so please contact them on the details given below if you are interested in attending.
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FREEME KZN WILDLIFE REHABILITATION CENTRE – JANUARY 2020 Empowering people to become actively involved in animal rescue is one of the things FreeMe Wildlife strives to achieve. Members of the public are most often on the frontline of wildlife rescue. In a lot of cases injuries necessitate the transport of the animal through for veterinary care, but sometimes the entire rescue and release operation can be undertaken by the member of the public under the guidance of our team.

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FREEME KZN WILDLIFE REHABILITATION CENTRE – DECEMBER 2019 Knowledge, if not shared, is impotent. The true value of knowledge lies in its ability to grow in fertile and receptive minds, and its real efficacy is expanding our ability and understanding when applied to the environment around us.
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How Fishing Line Hurts Birds

FishingLineLeafletFishing line may seem like a simple byproduct, but discarded fishing line can be a vicious hazard to many kinds of birds, causing not only injuries but a range of other problems.HowFishingLineHurtsBirds HowFishingLineHurtsBirds
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Custodian Newsletter November 2019


Some days at the Centre are quiet, but most days are hectic from start to finish. With a 24-hour helpline, and an entire province to service, our team works 24/7/365. Because of the high volumes of wildlife admitted through our doors on a daily, weekly and monthly basis, we cannot stress enough how small sacrifices made by the public to get compromised animals to us really help. On any given day we can get callouts from as far away as Mkuze, to Estcourt, to Pietermaritzburg, and in cases like this, the challenge is collecting animals from their various points across the country and getting them back to the Centre as soon as possible.

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Custodian Newsletter October 2019

Dear Custodian,

Please find attached the October newsletter.

Please note that due to the high influx of baby animals we are running a short course on the 12th of October at FreeMe at 2pm specifically aimed at educating the public on the more common species that we get admitted, and what the best course of action is on finding a baby animal.

There is a charge of R60 which covers the take-home booklet on the course.

Booking is essential as space is limited. Custodians get preference, so please book your place as soon as possible.

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Custodian Newsletter August 2019

Dear Custodian, 

Please find attached our newsletter for August. 

Please take note of the activities listed. 

Pat McKrill is hosting another one of his very popular Snake Awareness Courses. Pat is an absolute fundi on snakes, and the information he will pass on is invaluable. He will also demonstrate how to safely handle and relocate snakes, which is a valuable tool to have if you live in remote areas where calling a snake handler out might be difficult. This course is open to the public, so please pass the news on to any friends or family who might be interested in learning about snakes. 

All the courses and events need to be booked, so please book your places as soon as possible as numbers are limited.


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Custodian Newsletter June 2019

We were recently asked a very pertinent question by a member of the public: ‘Why is it legal to own a Serval in the USA, but in South Africa, you need a permit?’

Click here to download newsletter.

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Custodian Newsletter April 2019

Please note we have a Custodian Insight coming up on the 15th of May at 2pm. There is a post mortem due on a Caracal, and as sad as it is that we lost this beautiful animal, doing a post mortem will help us to understand the extent of the injuries sustained in the motor vehicle accident that resulted in its death. Custodians are welcome to join our team as we take a deeper look at the type of injuries that can result from motor vehicle collisions as well as the best course of actions in stabilising and treating patients with similar injuries. 

Bookings are essential for Custodian Insights as space is limited, so please let me know if you would like to attend.

Click here to download newsletter.

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Custodian Newsletter March 2019

Click here to download newsletter

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Custodian Newsletter – February 2019

Good day Custodians,

Please find attached the February newsletter. There are a couple of activities coming up, so please check the newsletter and let me know if you would like to attend any of them. Some of the details are not finalised, but at least if I know you are interested, I will be able to send you through details before the activities are advertised on our Facebook page. Remember, as Custodians, you get first choice (and discounts) on any events and activities.

The Custodian Insight planned for the end of Feb is free and only open to Custodians, but space is always limited, so please book if you want to attend that. Details are on the newsletter.

Click here to download newsletter

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Botswana’s Elephants are Dying of Starvation

The Journal of African Elephants,in a news release dated 2nd June 2020, under the heading “Botswana Elephant Deaths Mystery Deepens as Toll Rises”. The report by Mqondisi Dube (Voice of America) states:
GABARONE, BOTSWANA: The mystery surrounding a mass die-off of elephants in Botswana is deepening after initial test results ruled out poisoning and anthrax.
Wildlife officials had earlier ruled out poaching as no ivory had been taken. But Officers have discovered more carcasses as the death toll surpasses 100.
Samples would now be sent to neighbouring South Africa for further tests.
Wildlife officer,Dikamatso Ntshebe, said “more animals could die as some look sickly. We are still experiencing elephants dying in the Okavango Panhandle,” Ntshebe said. “We also see elephants that show that they are sick and on the verge of dying. As of Friday, we had a total count of 110 elephant carcasses.
Comment by Ron Thomson, True Green Alliance. None of this surprises me. In fact, I have been predicting this was going to happen for many years –but NOBODY in Botswana (or anywhere else) have ever listened to me; even though my observations are all based on sound science-based wildlife management fact and principle; and lots and lots of practical experience.
Botswana, for the last 60 years, has been harbouring a hugely excessive and constantly growing elephant population. And these “massively too many elephants” –for the last six or seven decades -have caused a huge loss of habitat diversity, an incredible loss of plant biomass and plant species extinctions (more and more every year), a loss of wild animal biomass and a loss of wild animal species. And all this began happening even before1960. Many important food plants have been eaten (by too many elephants) into local extinction. And I have been pushing all this information into the public domain for the last 30 years. I have written several books about it; and hundreds of magazine articles. But nobody listens. The only people whose opinions are ever listened to are the emotional sob-stories put out by the animal rightists–who want nothing less than that ALL elephants should be “saved from extinction” -and the animal rightists haven’t a clue about the principles and practices of science-based wildlife management.
The facts? In my opinion, Botswana is carrying twenty-times too many elephants. That is 20X more than the sustainable elephant carrying capacities of their habitats. And –roughly -what is the elephant carrying capacity in the game reserves of southern Africa? Probably, no more than one elephant per two square miles; or one elephant per five square kilometres.
It is now the month of June–and the dying from starvation has started. There are still five or six months to go before the dry season ends and new rains herald the start of the summer season. If the elephants are dying already-this early in the dry season-I hate to think what the end of October (or early November) is going to be like.
HOPEFULLY, this will be a wake-up call for Botswana. Hopefully government officials will stop listening to these idiotic and devious ‘do-gooder’ animal rightists who think they know everything about elephants–and about everything else, too!Especially the tourism gurus!The animal rightists say that it is me who ‘thinks he knows everything”. I take no offence at such derision, because I know that I have been in this wildlife management profession for more than 60 years –which is more than theTourist Jockeys can say. And I have offered Botswana the only possible solution to their dilemma.
The solution is to immediately carryout a drastic elephant population reduction exercise by killing 100000 elephants. That pro-active management programme would bring the numbers of elephants in the country drastically and dramatically down in the shortest possible time. And, THEN -next year -to reduce the elephant population still further by 50 percent of next year’s standing crop. And to continue doing that until the national park authorities have reduced the numbers of elephants to a level that the Botswana habitats can sustainably support.
There IS no other solution!
So, Mr Ntshebe, you can stop sending “samples for testing to South Africa” to find out why your elephants are dying. They are dying from starvation, my friend, pure and simple. So, stop“fiddling” whilst Rome burns!Botswana has had too many elephants -far, far, too many elephants-for far too long. So, get your rifles out; get a good management team together; and start killing (harvesting) your surplus elephants. There is no other solution!Better a well-placed bullet delivered humanely through the brain, than let them suffer months and months of agony, withering away with no food, and having to suffer all the miserable consequences that entails.
South Africa must not be complacent. Due to years and years of gross elephant mis-management in Kruger National Park, we are headed in exactly this same direction.
Ron Thomson. CEO –True Green Alliance
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CHASA Hunting Announcement during Level 3 Lockdown Regulations

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Africa’s brand is wildlife

This post on Facebook reached more than 10 000 people – it resonates with many and they sharing it. Now we need to continue with our awareness campaign of sustainable use. Please follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter and share with your friends – specially those who believe the propaganda of the ARs.


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Paving The Way To A Successful South African Game Meat Economy and Industry

After the publishing of the directives by the Department Environment, Forestry and Fisheries in the Government Gazette 14 May 2020, Vol. 659, No. 43323 by Minister Barbara Creecy, rumours began to surface that changes to the Meat Safety Regulations by the  Department Agriculture, were intended to only benefit certain individuals.

This handout from the GAME MEAT INDUSTRY FORUM is for distribution to all persons with an interest in the South African wildlife and game meat industry.

Stakeholders involved throughout the full value chain of the South African wildlife industry – from farm to fork – came together during June 2019 to discuss the possibility and need for a formal South African game meat forum. With the finalisation of Game Meat Regulations then already dormant for almost a decade, organisations and individuals realised that the lack of a unified, collective voice within the game meat industry, caused major confusion amongst government and retailers in South Africa.

These initial discussions during June 2019, eventually resulted in the establishment of a Game Meat Industry Forum (GMIF) on 20 September 2019. The current composition of the Forum, with representation of the majority stakeholder organisations within the game meat industry, serves as confirmation of the need thereof. Member organisations of the GMIF represent abattoirs, communities, culling teams, local hunters, outfitters, professional hunters, wildlife ranchers including specialist advisors and a game meat distribution company. The Terms of Reference acknowledges member organisations’ accountability to their respective constituencies and institutions, as well as member organisations’ and individuals’ accountability to one another within the Forum, on resolutions taken and actions to be implemented.

With an estimated 300 000 local hunters and thousands of others within all the respective sectors, the GMIF realises that not everybody within the South African wildlife industry is necessarily informed about the GMIF and its activities over the past few months. This handout is for distribution to all GMIF organisations and everybody with an interest in the South African wildlife and game meat industry.

  1. Status and content of Game Meat Regulations
    One of the GMIF’s first priorities was to request an update from the relevant government department regarding the content of the final Game Meat Regulations which were last published for public comment two years earlier. Simultaneously, the GMIF also requested an indication of the status of the Regulations and when it would be implemented.
    The above was extremely important as the GMIF was aware of certain clauses in the previous draft Regulations which were “problematic” and which, amongst others, included:

    • A quota to be placed on the number of animals that may be hunted by an individual hunter during a specific period;
    • Confusion about the different processes to be followed regarding meat inspections (own consumption vs meat for the commercial market);
    • The lack of definitions for e.g. own use (whether that would include making game meat available to extended family and friends), donations, harvesting, and hunting; and
    • Other technical issues.
  2. GMIF Proposals to the Game Meat Regulations
    The GMIF’s request to the relevant Director was just in time, as feedback was that the Regulations were on the Minister’s desk to be signed for implementation.
    The GMIF Steering Committee requested an urgent meeting with the Director and his colleagues during which concerns were raised about the above.
    The GMIF was informed that the signing of the Regulations would be put on hold for a period of time, allowing the GMIF to make certain proposals on specific areas of concern. The GMIF’s proposals to be presented to the Department, will specifically attend to the concerns as stipulated in par. 1 above.
    As an example, GMIF members all agreed at the June 2019 meeting that NO QUOTAS should be applicable to hunters. It was also generally agreed that the Regulations should be very clear about the fact that, although meat for commercial use is subject to meat inspections, that it would not be applicable to meat for own consumption by hunters. The GMIF has since considered various other proposals to also be submitted to the Department, which will amongst others include definitions for own consumption, donations, etc.
  3. Representation at the Meat Inspectors Advisory Forum
    Another priority was to ensure that the GMIF is represented at the Department of Agriculture, Rural Development and Land Reform’s (DARDLR) Meat Inspectors Advisory Forum (MIAF) where decisions and policies that will have an impact on the game meat industry, are discussed and finalised.
    The GMIF was successful in its application and was allowed to have two representatives at this government forum (MIAF).
  4. GMIF Communication to COVID-19 NATJOINTS
    The GMIF approached and engaged with the chairperson of the COVID-19 NATJOINTS Social Impact Task team during April to discuss the possibility of wildlife ranchers and communities with wildlife, to provide game meat to the hungry and needy in our country during these challenging times, within an economically sustainable model for game ranchers. This is still work-in-progress and GMIF is awaiting feedback from the relevant task team.
  5. GMIF comments on EMS Foundation proposal to SA Government to ban the eating of game meat
    When the EMS Foundation made proposals to three South African government departments to ban the consumption of game meat, the GMIF issued a press release, engaged in radio interviews and addressed letters to the three ministries.
  6. Coronavirus Level 4 Directives – Culling of Wildlife
    With the Coronavirus Level 4 Directives published for the wildlife industry on 14 May 2020, the GMIF discussed the issue of culling wildlife to ensure aligned guidelines to constituencies of GMIF members’ organisations to be guided by the relevant Level 4 Regulations and Directives.
  7. Game species listed on the Meat Safety Act Schedule
    GMIF members also discussed the input of the forum and individual organisations to the DARDLR about the proposed inclusion of game species in a Meat Safety Act schedule. Comments on the proposal should reach the Department by the end of June. GMIF agrees that it would be important to include all indigenous and non-indigenous species that can be legally hunted within South Africa to ensure that the meat (protein) can be used when hunted. Furthermore, it was agreed that the GMIF would draft an informative document about game meat as a by-product of hunts, to be made available as a legal source of protein.

In closing
All these actions are quite an achievement! Within eight months of its existence, the GMIF has already represented abattoirs, communities, culling teams, hunters, professional hunters, outfitters and wildlife ranchers on various levels, in its effort to create a vibrant game meat economy whilst protecting the rights and privileges of its members.


Adri Kitshoff-Botha

Chairperson: GMIF

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Call for an end to Daily Maverick’s damaging falsehoods on conservation and development

It wasn’t so long ago that the Daily Maverick appealed to the public to become a “Maverick Insider”, for a small fee, so that the newspaper could afford to continue to feed the public with regular news-worthy information; and ‘the truth’ about current affairs – when the truth was not available elsewhere.

Download PDF

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True Green Alliance Submission to Minister Creecy – Animal Rightists

The ‘public’ or the ‘people’, of course, are never identified; and that is because, in many cases, they do not exist. In fact, statements like this are fabrications conjured up in the minds of irresponsible journalists for the sole purpose of catching the public’s attention.

Click click here to download PDF.

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400 Botswana bull elephants, NSPCA ignoring questions & Government call for submissions

A TGA ‘Observation Statement’ Subject:Botswana Plans for Elephant Management

Derived from information coming out of Botswana about the government’s plans for elephant management in that country
Readers wishing to evaluate this statement must first acknowledge and accept certain scientific facts about wildlife and its management needs.

Click click here to download PDF.

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SAGA Snippets February 2020

Click click here to download PDF.

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Common Sense in Conservation

In recent years there has been an ever greater onslaught by First World animal rightists (A/Rs), to thwart the application of essential science-based wildlife management practices in Africa.

What is more worrying is the fact that Western governments have been complicit insofar they have used these animal rightist attacks for their own political gain; and the political elites have pledged to write into their Western-country laws A/R demands that would place control of wildlife management practices in Africa back into First World ‘white-nation’ hands.

THAT is neo-colonialism! It is about time, therefore, that ‘The West’ understood that Africa’s wildlife belongs to Africa, and that Africa’s people should be afforded the dignity of being allowed to manage their own wildlife as they see fit.

Africa does not need First World’s governments to tell it what it can and cannot do with its own wildlife.

Consequently, the well-being of Africa’s wild animals, and the maintenance of Africa’s essential national park habitats, is now at serious risk.


If you wish to gain an understanding of the animal rights doctrine and how and why it adversely affects the natural world, you need to develop a ‘feeling’ for this rhetoric! Who are these animal rightists? How do they really fit into the bigger conservation picture – if at all?

Ron Thomson

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Nyembe Wild

10 Skoon Buffelbulltjie en 4 Vers beskikbaar in Vryheid.

Skakel Louis Lotter vir pryse . 0781004883

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Blood on our hands? The Elephant Conservation Controversy

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WESSA KZN Youth Newsletter October 2019 – Update on Regional Transition

Dear WESSA members, 

WESSA KZN Youth Newsletter

We are delighted to be sending you the first issue of our Youth Newsletter (see attached), which gives an overview of some of the events and activities our youth volunteers have participated in over the past six months. This has been a collaborative effort but we are especially grateful to Josh Goldman for setting the process in motion. We hope to continue bringing you a monthly Youth Newsletter in order to report on the progress we are making towards growing and revitalising the WESSA KZN Region, as well as a more in-depth Regional Newsletter on a quarterly basis.   

With our growing core of youth volunteers, proposals outlined in previous communications with members will be developed in the New Year. To this end, we are planning to form Youth Action Groups that can initiate WESSA life projects (Local Initiatives For the Environment) and support existing branches. We also intend to pilot Green Matchmaking induction courses for new and existing members and supporters who would like to become active volunteers. 

Transition to regional administration

In April this year, we advised all our members that WESSA Membership is in the process of transitioning to a regionally administered membership. This requires the introduction of new systems and members will now be dealing directly with their regions. In view of these changes, please make a note of the following contact information for the WESSA KZN Region: 

KWAZULU-NATAL Contact Position Telephone Email
Regional Committee Pieter Burger Board & Regional Representative 031 573 1054 pieter@burgerip.co.za
Regional Committee Margaret Burger Regional Chair 083 630 5380 kzn.chair@wessalife.org.za
Regional Committee Jenny Duvenage Regional Coordinator 031 303 6099 kzn.membership@wessalife.org.za
For online information & payments, go to: www.wessalife.org.za

For new member and supporter sign-ups; payment and renewal queries; info updates; donations; the issuing of S18As; requests for invoices etc. please contact:

Jenny Duvenage: kzn.membership@wessalife.org.za

It will also greatly assist us if, when sending emails and payments to the Central Membership email: membership@wessalife.org.za  you identify as a KZN regional member by:

  1. Adding KZN to your email subject line
  2. Adding KZN to your payment reference together with your membership number


We have been sending out renewal notices in 3-month batches since April. The final batch for October – November will be going out shortly. Thereafter, renewal notices will be generated automatically, via our WESSA life web portal, a month in advance of the last paid date. This will greatly simplify the renewal process and if members also pay online, they will immediately receive a customised membership certificate as acknowledgement of their payment and support for WESSA KZN.     

We would like to take this opportunity to say a big thank you to all our members who have renewed their 2019-20 memberships. Your continued support is very much appreciated. As WESSA membership, our ability to: initiate grassroots environmental projects; act as an environmental watchdog; participate in public forums; comment on EIAs; and endeavour to protect the environmental rights of communities is determined by the strength of our membership base. The empowering of youth to lead the way has also never been more important!

Please do not hesitate to contact us should you have any queries.

With best wishes

The WESSA KZN Team  
Pieter, Margaret and Jenny

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WRSA has read, with disappointment, an article published in the Daily Maverick on 16 October 2019 about the listing of 33 wildlife species in terms of the Animal Improvement Act (AIA). With at least six references made to the “industry” in the article, it is unfortunate that the author, Mr Don Pinnock, did not consult with Wildlife Ranching South Africa (WRSA) before publishing the article. WRSA is acknowledged by the South African government and stakeholders locally and internationally, as an organisation representing wildlife ranchers in South Africa.

The one-sided approach to the article and the author and/or other contributors’ usage of terminology such as manipulation, genetic manipulation, cross-breeding of wildlife, domestication, etc., unfortunately creates an overall negative and irresponsible image of the South African wildlife ranching industry, which needs to be corrected.

The ethos of the South African wildlife rancher is the scientific management of game species in a natural habitat without an objective to domesticate them. Domestication should not be confused with the odd hand-rearing of individual animals. Breeding for domestication implies the intent to create offspring that would need and accept the care of humans.

Whilst factoring in the ecology, economy and socio-cultural aspects, South African wildlife ranchers provide and maintain fit-for-purpose wildlife ranching facilities related to sustainable wildlife production, management and utilisation. As a rule, wildlife ranchers assertively take precautionary measures mitigating against practices such as crossbreeding of species and reckless game management and husbandry. As an example, WRSA’s code of best practices stipulates that practices such as intensive genetic manipulation, utilisation of artificial reproductive technologies, including artificial insemination, embryo transfer, cloning techniques and clean uterus practices, should be reserved only for the preservation of threatened species and only with the explicit approval of and a permit from the relevant authorities.

Wildlife ranchers fully understand the importance of responsible wildlife ranching, including breeding. Therefore, experienced wildlife ranchers play an extremely important role in providing inputs to species biodiversity management plans and protocols, including a roan protocol, to ensure the future existence of those species.

The article implies that permit restrictions and constraints as imposed by the National Environmental Management Biodiversity Act (NEMBA) on particularly the movement of species, could be a possible reason for the listing of the species. WRSA agrees on the importance of having less restrictions on trade and movement of wildlife in order to grow the South African wildlife economy to its full potential. It is a fact that the wildlife ranching industry is subjected to very complex and in some cases, restricting legislation which does not provide the industry with the same competitive edge as other agricultural resources.

Therefore, should wildlife ranchers through the AIA be able to either completely or partially move over to the Department of Agriculture, it would indeed be an option for wildlife ranchers to consider. Although the Department of Environmental Affairs indicated that the wildlife industry will still be subjected to the requirements of NEMBA, clarity is still needed from the Department of Agriculture.

In closing, it is important to once again be reminded of the South African private wildlife ranching industry’s success story. Our country today, has more wildlife than at any given time during the past century, of which two-thirds are in private ownership with one-third in national and provincial reserves. This success was made possible through the three pillars of responsible and sustainable wildlife ranching, namely:

a) The principle of free market economics, directed towards protecting South Africa’s natural resources and leaving a lasting legacy for future generations;

b) A legislation environment, including the Game Theft Act which allowed for the private ownership of wild animals, as well as the principle of sustainable utilisation enshrined in our country’s constitution; and

c) Significant investment by the private sector into wildlife ranches and wildlife.

Private wildlife ranchers will not risk putting this 21st century conservation initiative at risk, by acting irresponsibly.

24 October 2019


President, WRSA: Mr Tebogo Mogashoa, president@wrsa.co.za
CEO, WRSA: Adri Kitshoff-Botha, ceo@wrsa.co.za

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Minister Barbara Creecy appoints an advisory committee to review policies, legislation and practices related to the management of elephant, lion, leopard and rhinoceros

The Minister of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries, Ms Barbara Creecy has announced the appointment of Mr Mavuso Msimang as the Chair of a 25-member advisory committee to review policies, legislation and practices related to the management, breeding, hunting, trade and handling of elephant, lion, leopard and rhinoceros.

The names of the committee members were published in Government Gazette 42761 (Notice No. 1317) on 10 October 2019.  The Committee, also known as the High Level Panel, has been appointed in terms of the National Environmental Management Act of 1998.

Mr Msimang, previously chaired the Rhino Issue Management Process.  He is presently the chairman of the Tourism Conservation Fund and former SANParks CEO, Director of Peace Parks Foundation, former Head of Rhino issue management programme, former chairperson of iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority. 

The Department of Environmental Affairs (Environment, Forestry and Fisheries) has for some time dealt with a number of emotive and complex conservation and sustainable use issues, particularly those involving keystone species. These include the elephant management and culling debate, the management of ivory stockpile, trade in rhinoceros horn, captive breeding and the emerging issue of lion bone trade. Society and the international community is divergent on matters of conservation, sustainable use and benefit sharing arising from the use of genetic and natural resources.

Irresponsible and unsustainable practices, inconsistent with the spirit and letter of the law, could be detrimental to wildlife conservation and sustainable development, thus fuelling negative public sentiments on matters of captive breeding, handling, hunting and trade in lions, elephants, leopard and rhinoceros specimens with implications on the country’s conservation reputation. Equally significant is the need to enhance the contribution of conservation and sustainable use of biological resources to socio-economic development of the country. 

It is for this reason that an Advisory Committee serving as a panel has been established.  The Panel will, over the coming months, review existing policies, legislation and practices related to the breeding, hunting, trade and handling of elephant, lion, leopard and rhinoceros.  The Panel will also review the implementation of the recommendations of the Committee of Inquiry into the feasibility, or not, of a legal rhinoceros horn trade, and any future decisions affecting trade-related proposals to the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES),  conduct public hearings and workshops, consider submissions, scientific evidence and other forms of information, and identify gaps and make recommendations on the basis of the key focus areas.

Amongst the focus areas are the keeping in captivity and hunting of elephant and rhino, the ivory trade, rhino anti-poaching and anti-trafficking measures and community empowerment, as well as leopard hunting and the trade in leopard skins.  The Panel will probe among others the breeding of lion in captivity, the hunting of lion, and the trade in lion bones and skins.

In appointing the Panel, the Minister considered among others criteria including the skills of the nominees, expertise and experience, qualifications in conservation, community interface, economics, trade and industry, legal, welfare and sustainable agriculture.

The High Level Panel Members are:

  1. Mr Mavuso Msimang a previous winner of the WWF-SA Living Planet award, Public Service by United Nations Economic Commission for Africa award and award in Excellent Services rendered to Conservation and Prestigious Fred Packard by the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas. Chairman of WWF-SA Social, Ethics and Transformation Committee and Corruption Watch. His a specialist in nature conservation, institutional development, tourism development and community development. 
  2. Ms Aadila Agjee, the head of the wildlife project for the Centre for Environmental Rights. Her specialities are environmental legal matters, litigation, legal regulations for welfare of wild animals and compliance, legislative review, animal rights and welfare legislation. 
  3. Prof Brian Child who presently directs the Peace Parks Foundation’s Community Development Programme.  A doctor of ecology, he specialises in economics, governance, nature conservation, communal area management, indigenous resources and camp fire initiatives.
  4. Mr Kule Chitepo of Resource Africa and chairperson of the IUCN Species Survival Commissions on Sustainable Use and Livelihoods who is a transboundary biodiversity conservation expert. He specialises in community development, policy development on rural communities, exposure to trade, resource mobilisation and the promotion of sustainable use of natural resources and livelihoods.
  5. Ms Ashleigh Dore of the Endangered Wildlife Trust specialises in nature conservation, community empowerment as well in restorative justice as an admitted attorney. She also represents women and youth in the conservation sector.
  6. Mr Stewart Poultney Dorrington, the chairman of Custodians of Professional Hunting and Conservation South Africa specialises in Wildlife conservation, hunting and game farming. 
  7. Inkosi Mpumalanga Gwadiso, the chief and chairman of the Amakhonjwayo Traditional Council. Co-founded and member of the House of Traditional Leaders, is a human rights activist who specialises in community development, community and traditional leadership.
  8. Kgosi Edward Mabalane, the King of the Baphiring Nation, Mabaalstad, and member of the House of Traditional Leaders, specialises in community leadership and is competent in restorative justice, local government administration and cultural heritage promotion.
  9. Mr Reuben Malema, managing director of game meat company: Black Evolution Products specialises in the sustainable use of wildlife, policy development in agriculture and business management, wildlife ranching and food security. He is a member of the DAFF Ministerial Advisory Committee on game meat regulations.
  10. Dr Kelley Marnevick of the Tshwane University of Technology and member of the wildlife forum is a specialist in conservation biology and wildlife management of the large
  11. Ms Lulama Lorrain Matyolo member of National People and Park and National Council of Provinces Secretary specialises in legal and compliance matters. She is a former acting Chief Parliamentary Legal advisor and a Deputy Secretary to National People and Parks Committee Forum.
  12. Mr Tebogo Mogashoa, the president of Wildlife Ranching SA is highly experienced in conservation, game ranching and wildlife farming, and of investment promotion in the SA economy through the wildlife sector.
  13. Dr Tshifhiwa Constance Nangammbi, senior conservation lecturer at Tshwane University of Technology is a specialist in Curriculum Development in genetics and piloted the establishment of a wildlife biological resource centre. Dr Nangammbi also established the molecular genetics lab at the University of Venda. She is involved in the empowerment of previously disadvantaged individuals and students.
  14. Ms Elizabeth Johanna Lizanne Nel, conservation manager of SA Hunters and Game Conservation Association is a conservation specialist and lecture. She is a member of the IUCN specialist group and is experienced in hunting, livelihoods, sustainable use, wildlife management, policy development and advocacy, community development and ecotourism development.
  15. Ms Mmboneni Esther Netshivhongweni, chairperson of WEBASA and Limpopo People and Parks Community Forum and serves in the board of directors of Professional Hunter’s Association of SA, she is highly experienced in community conservation management and the sustainable use of wildlife. 
  16. Prof Azwihangwisi Edward Nesamvuni has a doctorate in animal breeding and reproduction, a former board member of Agriculture Research Council, Limpopo Agricultural colleges and former Head of the Limpopo Department of economic development, environment and tourism. He specialises in sustainable agriculture, nature conservation and research in animal breeding and reproduction, land reformation for rural development and policy development.
  17. Ms Sibusiso Maureen Ngcobo is a chairperson of Kana Uyhukunga Mvele, Women in Conservation NPO, a member of National Coordinating Body for Desertification and Land degradation and a member of the Multidisciplinary Expert Panel on Intergovernmental of Science-Policy on Biodiversity and Ecosystem. She’s an advocate for women participation in conservation issues, she is experienced about conservation and sustainable use, women in conservation, and is a strategic development and implementation specialist.
  18. Hosi Pheni Cyprian Ngove of Nghonyama Royal House was a former member of Limpopo Provincial Arts and Cultural Council and served as a member of Projects and Programs of the National Development Agency Board. He has a knowledgeable experience of matters relating to indigenous knowledge systems in South Africa, breeding and community development.
  19. Mr Michael ‘t Sas Rolfes, is an environmental resource economist who is a specialist in legal and illegal markets for wildlife products. He is knowledgeable in sustainable use, an expert in the analysis of wildlife trade policy for high value species and works closely with international bodies such as International Conservation Union (IUCN(, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) AND the Convention on Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
  20. Prof Robert Hugh Slotow, the pro-vice chancellor of the University of KwaZulu-Natal, holds a doctorate in biology. He is an expert in research on genetics and conservation of large mammals, and specialises in Corporate Governance and species-related policy development, economics, animal physiology, welfare and protected areas management.
  21. Nkosi Mabhudu Israel Tembe of the Tembe Traditional Council is a political activist who specialises in community development. His a former member of iSimangaliso wetlands Parks Board and Ezemvelo KwaZulu-Natal Wildlife steering committee. He was also a former Chairperson of Umkhanyakude Local House of Traditional Leaders. Currently he is an Executive member of Provincial house of Traditional Leaders.
  22. Mr Deon Swart, CEO of the South African Predator Association is experienced about wildlife conservation, policy development and conservation management, captive breeding of lion, the national and international wildlife trade, as well as monitoring and enforcement, nature conservation, compliance monitoring, hunting and management planning development.
  23. Ms Karen Trendler, the chairperson of SANParks Ethics and Animal use and care Committee, working group member of the SABS code of Practice for Translocation and Capture of African Herbivores, Code on Zoo Standard and animal experimentation. She’s of NSPCA and Lion Coalition she’s a wildlife rehabilitation expert with experience of wildlife welfare ethics and trade nature conservation, and training in wildlife management. .
  24. Mr Andries Lucas van Coller, president of the Professional Hunters’ Association of SA is a specialist in agriculture and wildlife conservation, game farm management, community participation and hunting.
  25. Ms Pamela Bulelwa Yako of Zenande Leadership Consulting is an expert in environmental policy development and women empowerment. She’s a former chairperson on National Tourism Board who’s well experienced in municipal governance, stakeholder facilitation and financial strategy development and sustainability planning specialist.

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