Current Situation on Darting Safaris in South Africa


A. Notification from the Department of Environmental Affairs

The Veterinary Council proposed amendments to their legislation that will have an impact on the darting of rhinos by foreign clients. Herewith is a summary of the information:

1. According to the proposed amendments only veterinary professionals, or persons authorized by the Veterinary Council and under the supervision of a veterinary professional, will be permitted to administer Schedule 5 or 6 medicines with the purpose to tranquilize or anaesthetize an animal.

2. These amendments have not been published for implementation yet. However, the Veterinary Council will probably forward these proposals to the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) next week, for DAFF to obtain approval from the Minister to publish the amendments in the Gazette for implementation. The implementation will then be with immediate effect.

3. The rules will be published in terms of Section 30 of the Veterinary and Para-Veterinary Professions Act, Act 19 of 1982. (Act)

4. The Veterinary Council went through the consultation process, but did not extend this to the professional hunting industry.

5. According to the policy of the Veterinary Council, it would officially be unethical for veterinarians to be involved in darting safaris from 1 June 2010. As a result of the industry not being informed of the time frame of the implementation, there are Hunting Outfitters who have permits to conduct these safaris, and safaris have already been booked. There would thus be an interim period from 1 June 2010 until publication of the amendments, that Outfitters would have problems with existing contracts. The Veterinary Council was therefore requested if it would be possible for them to honor existing permits. The Registrar of the Council undertook to forward our request to the Executive Committee for approval.

6. In the mean time, it is recommended that provinces do not issue new permits for applications for darting safaris. Further, it is requested that all provinces must indicate to us how many permits they have issued of which the safaris still need to take place. The reason is so that we can indicate to the Council how many permit holders will be affected by the interim period (my proposal was that the Council regard this period until publication, as an official phase out period for permits).

7. DEA will have to amend the TOPS Regulations to make provision that only veterinary professionals or persons authorized by the Council, may dart animals. Therefore, written approval from the Council will be a prerequisite for a person other than a veterinary professional, to obtain a darting permit.


B. Update from the Department of Environmental Affairs on the Veterinary Council's decision taken at their meeting of 30 July

"Decision taken by Council that the conduct of any veterinarians involved in green hunts i.r.o. permits issued after 30 June 2010 will be investigated.
Permits issued prior to 30 June 2010 not affected."

This means that darting safaris for existing TOPS permits may continue, but no new TOPS permits should be issued for foreign clients to do the darting, as veterinarians may not be involved in those safaris.

The above provision only affects the 5 outstanding permits issued by MTPA.
All other provinces indicated that they have no outstanding permits (permits that have already been issued, of which the safaris still need to take place).

We will amend the TOPS Regulations accordingly to give effect to the decision of the South African Veterinary Council.


Source: Professional Hunters' Association of South Africa (PHASA)