The announcement comes on the eve of the first game auction in the recent history of the Western Cape, set to take place just outside Beaufort West on Saturday, 25 June.
The Minister explained: "Game species indigenous to South Africa, which were not allowed into the Western Cape Province in terms of the previous Mammalian Translocation Policy, are now allowed - following amendments to CapeNature's policy now known as the Game Translocation and Utilization Policy (GTUP). The result is amongst others, extended ranges for certain game species such as bontebok, blesbok, black wildebeest, gemsbok and kudu and the legal translocation of species including giraffe and rhino".
Landowners may now bring certain game species into the Western Cape, provided the associated ecological and environmental risks in CapeNature's policy are adequately addressed and managed on the ground.
In term of the GTUP, CapeNature now deems certain extralimital game (i.e. alien to the Western Cape Province but indigenous to South Africa) species permissible for introduction into the Province - should the risks posed by these species to indigenous biodiversity be manageable by means of a game management plan or other measures contained in the GTUP.
"The GTUP takes into account the Province's unique biodiversity, but from a risk management perspective rather than solely a species or strict historical distribution perspective. However, the criteria to move and manage certain species across the Western Cape's landscape remain strict and transport, import and export permits from CapeNature are always needed", the Minister cautioned.
"For example, in order to move buffalo, the animals are first tested by the state vetenerian for transmittable diseases. If test results are negative, the fencing requirements are met and the habitat is suitable, a permit for the translocation can be issued."
By considering the needs of the game industry, we want to encourage economic sustainability and job creation, which all feed into the conservation economy, whilst at the same time safeguarding our unique biodiversity through managing whatever possible risks the introduction of extralimital game species may pose.
The GTUP represents a balance between the economic desires of the game industry and the principles of sound environmental management