Johannesburg – The norms and standards regarding the management of elephants in South Africa are to be amended, the environmental affairs department said on Wednesday.
“The department of environmental affairs [DEA] notes recent reports that it has abandoned key provisions of the norms and standards for the management of elephants in South Africa, adopted on 1 May 2008,” it said in a statement.
“The DEA also wishes to clarify misconceptions that these amendments could overturn the founding principles of the 2008 norms.”
Since the latest elephant norms and standards came into force, the department had become aware of implementation and enforcement challenges facing owners and managers of elephants, but also conservation authorities.
These included requirements relating to an elephant management plan, in particular:
Complexities relating to the information to be included in the management plan. A lack of clarity regarding who was responsible to develop a management plan for roaming (wild) elephants when their origin could not be readily determined.
“In addition, certain provisions do not adequately specify whether they apply to wild or captive elephants,” the department said.
This includes restrictive provisions relating to the import or export of live elephants, as no provision had been made for the export of captive elephants to captive facilities, such as exchanges between zoos.
“To address these potential problems, and streamline the implementation process, the DEA convened a general stakeholder consultation workshop on August 12 2014,” the department said.
Additional challenges identified included there being no provision for methods of euthanasia and the need to ensure norms and standards provisions were aligned with the threatened or protected species regulations involving elephants.
“Discussions from the above-mentioned workshop as well as submissions received from stakeholders will inform the amendment of the Elephant Norms and Standards.”
The draft revised norms and standards would be gazetted in 2015.
“This will provide further opportunity for interested and affected parties to participate in the process,” the department said.
“It is important to note that proposed amendments to the norms and standards are not unique, but form part of the regular process of revision of departmental regulations, in response to prevailing conditions.”