Wildlife in Trade Programme

Skill Development

One of the key areas where the EWT can play a role in strengthening compliance and enforcement of environmental legislation is through skills development. Through a scoping investigation and ongoing networking and interaction with various enforcement agencies, a number of training and awareness needs have been identified.

Wildlife Trade and Law Enforcement NQF level 5 training

The O.R. Tambo International Airport (ORTIA) is one of the busiest ports of entry and exit into and out of South Africa. Although some illicit wildlife has been detected in the past the illegal wildlife trade has not been an area of focus for the various agencies based at ORTIA.

The Wildlife Trade and Law Enforcement training course is aimed at law enforcement officials for agencies such as the Gauteng Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (GDARD) Environmental Management Inspectors (EMIs), South African Revenue Services (SARS) investigators, South African Police Services (SAPS), Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) inspectors, Customs inspectors and the various K9 units for SAPS and SARS as well as a number of private security officials.To date fifty officials from various departments at ORTIA have participated in the training programme. Sponsorship has been received to train an additional 25 officials in 2012. Requests for similar training have been received from the Customs officials serving at the border posts between South Africa and our neighbouring SADC countries, King Shaka and Cape Town airports as well as from the SARS investigative unit. Sponsorship will have to be sourced to provide additional training.

Highlight - In December 2011 two officials working for the Air Cargo Transport Security (ACTS) company at ORTIA detected suspicious-looking items in a piece of luggage. They contacted all the relevant agencies and when the owner of the luggage unlocked the suitcase two rhino horns, five elephant tusks and an undisclosed number of ivory pieces were discovered. Two of the three ACTS staff members involved in the detection of the illegal wildlife products had attended the Wildlife Trade and Law Enforcement training programme at the EWT in July 2011 and were able to put their newly acquired skills to good use.

Workshop – Damage Causing Animal complaints and how to address the problems

Livestock and game farmers often complain of conflict situations and damage caused by live wild predators. Although the various provincial acts and ordinances provide for permits to destroy or re-located the alleged culprits, conservation officials do not receive any training or awareness on alternate methods of solving such conflict situations. The three day workshop is aimed at the district official who is tasked with investigating a damage causing animal complaint and includes subjects such as identifying the predator, identifying whether the predator caused the damage or was merely an opportunistic feeder, information on alternate methods of dealing with a damage causing predator for example, livestock guarding dogs, fencing methods and predator proof holding facilities.

One successful workshop was presented to eight Limpopo district officials. Sponsorship is required to present three more workshops for Limpopo province and two workshops for the North West province.

Proposed future training and awareness programmes – funding required.

  • Assessing the welfare of wild animals in zoos, rehabilitation centres and sanctuaries or similar institutions – aimed at district officials who issue permits and law enforcement officials;
  • Assessing permit applications for operating zoos, rehabilitation centres, sanctuaries and similar institutions – aimed at district officials who issue permits;
  • Species identification (CITES and other) – aimed at enforcement agencies, animal welfare agencies and private security companies.