ByronGrobler%20(7)_edited.jpg
Line separator

WILD DOGS
& THE LAW

To explain the legal framework relating to wild dogs in South Africa, we have set the information out through a FAQ. If you have a question that we have not addressed please contact our Law and Policy Group who will be happy to assist you, our contact information is set out below. In this contact information section, we have also provided key contacts to assist you if you would like to report a crime involving Wild Dog.

Are wild dogs legally protected in South Africa?

Yes - Section 56 of the National Environmental Management Biodiversity Act 10 of 2004 (NEMBA) provides that the Minister responsible for environmental management may publish a list of species that are threatened or in need of protection.

 

On 23 February 2007, the was published in Government Notice R151 in Government Gazette No 29657. This list is commonly called the TOPS List.

 

Species are listed on the TOPS list in one of four categories:

  • Critically endangered species, these are indigenous species facing an extremely high risk of extinction in the Wild in the immediate future.

  • Endangered species, these are indigenous species facing a high risk of extinction in the Wild in the near future.

  • Vulnerable species, these are indigenous species facing an extremely high risk of extinction in the Wild in the medium-term future.

  • Protected species, these are species which are of such high conservation value or national importance that they require regulation in order to ensure that the species are managed in an ecologically suitable manner

 

Wild Dogs are currently listed as Endangered.

What permits do I need relating to Wild Dogs?

NEMBA lists a number of restricted activities involving Wild Dogs, these are:

  1. hunting, catching, capturing or killing any living specimen of a listed threatened or protected species by any means, method or device whatsoever, including searching, pursuing, driving, lying in wait, luring, alluring, discharging a missile or injuring with intent to hunt, catch, capture or kill any such specimen;

  2. gathering, collecting or plucking any specimen of a listed threatened or protected species;

  3. picking parts of, or cutting, chopping off, uprooting, damaging or destroying, any specimen of a listed threatened or protected species;

  4. importing into the Republic, including introducing from the sea, any specimen of a listed threatened or protected species;

  5. exporting from the Republic, including re-exporting from the Republic any specimen of a listed threatened or protected species;

  6. having in possession or exercising physical control over any specimen of a listed threatened or protected species;

  7. growing, breeding or in any other way propagating any specimen of a listed threatened or protected species, or causing it to multiply;

  8. conveying, moving or otherwise translocating any specimen of a listed threatened or protected species;

  9. selling or otherwise trading in, buying, receiving, giving, donating or accepting as a gift, or in any way acquiring or disposing of any specimen of a listed threatened or protected species; or

  10. any other prescribed activity which involves a specimen of a listed threatened or protected species.
     

You may not undertake any of the above activities involving Wild Dogs (alive or dead, part or whole) without a permit issued in terms of chapter 7 of NEMBA.

It is also important to remember that you can only undertake the restricted activities which are on your permit, therefore, if you only have a permit to possess but want to breed or sell you have to amend your permit or obtain an additional one. You also have to comply with the permit conditions attached to the permit.

Permits can be applied for in each of the nine provinces, at designated offices

What criminal offences could I be liable for in relation to my activities involving Wild Dogs?

If you act in violation of your permit, or do not have one but are undertaking restricted activities, you have committed an offence. The Wildlife Crime Handbook: A Species Specific Support Tool for Investigating Officers and State Prosecutors published by the EWT in 2017 set out the following table, detailing some of the specific offences one could commit involving or in relation to Wild Dogs:

If I am found guilty of the offences detailed above what penalties could I face?

If you are found guilty of an offence under NEMBA the penalties at their maximum can be 10 years imprisonment, a fine not exceeding 10 million rand or both. Other penalties are set out in the table above.

Why is it important for justice to be achieved for offences relating to Wildlife?

As detailed throughout this website and set out The Wildlife Crime Handbook: A Species Specific Support Tool for Investigating Officers and State Prosecutors published by the EWT in 2017, Wild Dogs are the rarest carnivore in South Africa with an estimated population of around 450 adult individuals (580 individuals including pups). Probably the most pressing concern is the unlawful killing of African Wild Dogs, either by deliberate human persecution or inadvertently through snaring. Ensuring justice for these offences is vital for the conservation of this species, especially considering:

 

  • There currently is little to no information regarding persons convicted for illegally killing Wild Dogs, as such there is no deterrent against committing offences in terms of Wild Dogs. To illustrate this point with an example: in 2015 a farmer shot ten Wild Dogs, which approximated to two per cent of the population being unlawfully killed in a single event and to date no action has been taken against him.

  • With regard to snaring, it is important to note that snaring is prohibited in terms of the TOPS Regulations, therefore when Wild Dogs are killed in a snare, two offences are committed in terms of the TOPS Regulations, the first is the killing of Wild Dogs without a permit and the second is use of snares; and

  • Snares are indiscriminate killers, even though Wild Dogs are not the intended target for the snare, they and many other threatened or protected species regularly fall victim to snares.

As the most threatened carnivore in South Africa, an increase in justice achieved for offences committed against Wild Dogs is urgently needed to assist in ensuring this species is not driven into extinction through flagrant, unlawful conduct.

 

What other legislation should I be aware of?

The legislation detailed above is national legislation, in the table below we set out provincial legislation that may also be relevant in terms of the regulation and governance of Wild Dog at the provincial level: