Our Biodiversity Management Unit led an operation this weekend with the assistance of the North West Parks Board, Phokeng Stock Theft Unit, Royal Bafokeng Administration Tribal Police and the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NSPCA). The team conducted a blitz operation on the illegal trade of reptiles and amphibians along various hotspots on the Sun City and Bapong road.
Illegal sellers of these species target tourists from Sun City and often sell these small wild species which include leopard tortoises, chameleons, scorpions and lizards. The trade is occurring at an alarming rate and may cause serious impact on the specific species in the wild, and may disrupt local ecosystems. “We have noted the possibility of major suppliers of these animals to the young men and women traders along the said roads making it typically the work of organized crime. If you are a tourist buying these animals you must think twice, as this is a criminal offence”, said Jonathan Denga Director for Biodiversity Management.This operation seized six leopard tortoises which were handed over to the NSPCA for rehabilitation and safe release into the wild.
The three suspects apprehended were taken into custody at Phokeng Police Station, and have appeared before court on the 9th March 2020 at the Bafokeng Magistrate Court for contravention of the provisions of section 20(1((2)(3) of the Transvaal Nature Conservation, Ordinance 12 of 1978.The case is postponed for further investigation. Members of the public are implored to desist from purchasing reptiles and amphibians or any other game species from anybody without a valid permit issued by Biodiversity Management. Anyone found in possession of any wild animal without a valid permit will be apprehended and shall face the full might of the law.