A game farmer in the Western Cape town of Darling has pleaded guilty to charges of illegal hunting, trade, possession and translocation of the illegal game in the Malmesbury Regional Court.
The court fined Ryan Wall R240 000, with a further fine of R930 000 suspended for five years, following his guilty plea on 13 April. CapeNature said the charges related to illegal activities in 2015 and 2016 on Wall’s game farm in Doornfontein, outside Darling.
‘In 2015, Wall was caught hunting two trophy eland bulls outside the hunting season and without permits. He was also in possession of 40 blue wildebeest which he had acquired illegally,’ said CapeNature, the government agency tasked with maintaining wilderness areas and public reserves in the province.
‘Two of the charges for which Wall was convicted related to the purchase, translocation and subsequent release of fallow deer, a nationally declared invasive species, in 2016.’
Fallow deer pose a risk to the Western Cape’s unique biodiversity and food security, and their translocation and trade are prohibited.
‘Offences involving the illegal possession, hunting, transport and trade in protected wild animals for personal financial gain and trading in and spreading alien invasive species in the Western Cape are viewed in a serious light,’ said CapeNature CEO Razeena Omar, quoted by Times Live.
‘Invasive species cost South Africa’s economy billions of rand a year. More than R1 billion of taxpayers’ money is spent each year trying to manage the problem.’
The close co-operation between the police stock theft unit and the National Prosecuting Authority led to the successful prosecution.