Ainslee Hay of the Wildlife Protection Unit of the National Council of Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NSPCA) said they will try to ensure legislation to prevent what it called the mass slaughter of animals in a driven hunt on land owned by a community near Alldays.
Hay told Polokwane Observer on Tuesday that the hunt, which started on Monday, was still continuing on Tuesday. Animals are driven into a funnel some two kilometres long and hunters on specially built platforms are shooting the animals. The hunt is to last one week.
“Foreign hunters, in South Africa for a week of entertainment will be standing on purpose built platforms along the slaughter strip ready to take pot shots at these terrified animals. The animals have no chance of evading the onslaught and the hunters have no way of ensuring a clean shot or a humane death, ” Hay stated on the organisation’s Facebook page. Driven hunting is not illegal, but the NSPCA described it as “most certainly unethical and inhumane as a clean shot and certain death cannot be guaranteed.” They said the driven hunt will damage SA’s ethical hunting image. The organisation obtained a warrant, valid for four days, to observe the process.
Animal rights groups went to observe the culling of animals and on Monday observers reported that 18 animals had been killed, including gemsbuck, eland, wildebeest, warthogs, impala and duiker.
The NSPCA appealed to the public at large to help them to stop the hunt by appealing to the Directorate of Environmental Affairs of the Limpopo Department of Economic Development, Environment and Tourism (Ledet) to stop it.
Hay on Monday said the public can be assured that they are doing everything possible to stop the hunt , but: “We need to work within the framework of the law and our powers. “
Trying to get hold of Ledet Spokesperson on the environment, Simon Matome, to get answers on specific questions proved impossible, as he did not answer his cell phone or replied to emails sent. Another spokesperson referred Polokwane Observer to the manager of communications at the department, who also did not answer his phone. We were able to determine that by yesterday (Wednesday) morning an official press release had not yet been issued.
Matome reportedly said he spent seven hours on the farm and that hunting was legal in South Africa and the game farm a legal entity. He further said the hunting was part of the community’s generation of income and the department issue hunting licences, governed by the Limpopo Environmental Management Act.
Nico Wepener, Chairperson of the Bushveld Hunters and Game Conservation Association told Polokwane Observer the concept of a driven hunt was totally unethical and the organisation could not condone this behaviour nor would ever participate in such practices. He said this was definitely not a general practice and it was the first time he heard of something like this taking place in the province. Wepener said this might happen sometimes with the hunting of birds, but not with game. “One cannot call it hunting,” he said. “This incident will damage our country’s image, and we try to keep our image clean”.
The Confederation of Hunters Associations of South Africa in a press release said the method of driven hunting does indeed occur in a number of biomes and for a number of species both in South Africa and globally and is legal, but recognise however, that in this specific instance, in this biome and for the likely species, it is not a normal hunting method. The association said the community recently acquired these estates as part of a land redistribution process and are relatively new to the game ranching industry.
“They are perhaps in need of some mentorship and guidance relating to their newfound opportunity.”
Story: NELIE ERASMUS