No Hunting in South African National Parks

© Roger de la Harpe

In a statement released by SANParks on April 2, 2007 chief executive officer David Mabunda says there will be no hunting in national parks. "It is clear therefore that where certain practices may be permissible in provincial parks, such practices may not be entertained in national parks. This brings me to this issue of hunting that seems to have dominated the headlines since the minister of environmental affairs and tourism, Marthinus van Schalkwyk, announced that the self-imposed ban on culling of elephants in national parks of South Africa will be lifted as from the May 1, 2008.

The minister, in the norms and standards for management of elephants in South Africa expressly stated that culling will be used as a management tool on consultation and advice of a qualified ecologist who is a recognised elephant management specialist. "By lifting the ban on culling and approving culling as one of the management tools for elephant population management, the minister did not open a back door for hunting in national parks.

As an organisation we have nothing against hunting, however, as custodians of the national parks system on behalf of the nation, we cannot allow hunting or any form of extractive use in national parks. Whereas hunting in South Africa is a perfectly legal activity that is governed through a number of enabling and restrictive legislation it is a form of activity that is not allowed in the national parks of South Africa based on the principles and values held by this nation.

"Confusion between culling and hunting must never be created or allowed. Hunting is a form of selective elimination of the strongest members of a herd, based on whatever distinction has been accepted in the hunting fraternity, whereas culling, though a lethal means of management, is only based on a precautionary principle of managing wildlife populations for the sole purposes of regulating systems for whatever reasons."

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