Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa has invited the public to comment on amendments to the Threatened or Protected Species (TOPS) Regulations and species list.
“The Department of Environmental Affairs has undertaken a substantial review of the TOPS Regulations, as well as the list of threatened or protected species that was published in terms of section 56 of the National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act, 2004 (Act No. 10 of 2004),” Department of Environmental Affairs spokesperson Albi Modise said.
He said the amendments were published in Gazette No. 36375 on 16 April 2013 for public participation for a period of 60 days.
On Tuesday, Minister Molewa republished amendments to the TOPS Regulations and species list in Government Gazette No. 38600 and Notice 256 of 2015 for public comment for a period of 30 days.
“Due to the nature of the comments received during the public participation process, a number of the provisions in the draft revised regulations required further amendment or new provisions needed to be included. Similar amendments were also required in the draft revised species list,” Minister Modise said.
He said as a result of amendments arising from the previous stakeholder consultation process, Minister Molewa is affording all interested and affected parties a final opportunity to comment on further amendments to the revised TOPS Regulations and species list.
The amendments related to the revised draft species list include making the list more user-friendly.
Sub-categories for mammal species in particular have been created within the protected species category. The sub-categories include:
Species of high conservation value or national importance, such as the Southern White Rhino, African Elephant, leopard and black-footed cat;
Species listed to ensure that they are managed in an ecologically sustainable manner, including species that are likely to hybridise, such as blue and black wildebeest, blesbok and bontebok. Species such as blue wildebeest, blesbok and Burchell zebra have been added to the list thus regulating the translocation of species that are likely to cross-breed with other closely-related species; and
Species included in Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) which are not already listed in any other categories.