SAPA clarifies its clear-cut regulations after being shamed for ' publicity stunt'

Cape Town - The South African Predators Association (SAPA) alleges to have no legal or policing powers to monitor compliance within the predator breeding and hunting industry of South Africa and therefore, overseeing the complete industry is practically impossible.

The degree of duty the organisation has, explained by the chairperson of SAPA, Professor Pieter Potgieter, states that the organisation can only publish norms and standards for those operating in the predator breeding and hunting industry and also, only provide them with guidance and direction.

As for SAPA members who contravene the code of conduct of the organisation...well, they are disciplined by an internal disciplinary process. 

Recently, the organisation has been positioned in bad light after Alison Fitzgerald, owner and manager at Kruger Inn backpackers accused SAPA of photo-shopping their logo and banner onto the bakkie that delivered the rhino feed, to pass it off as if it were a SAPA initiative. She labelled this as ‘a cheap publicity stunt’.

Fitzgerald soon took to social media to publicly denounce SAPA’s involvement in delivering rhino feed to Marloth Park.

The following is screengrab of Alison Fitzgerald's strong reaction on Facebook:

However, Potgieter is adamant that it was a SAPA initiative and he justified the photo-shopped images, "It was a SAPA initiative. Because of time and distance constraints we could not get the banner there in time. To call it a "bizarre publicity stunt" is in itself a bizarre publicity stunt."

Moreover, in a TV interview earlier this year, Potgieter, who is the only paid member of SAPA, admitted that the organisation is unable to monitor or enforce welfare standards at predator breeding and hunting farms.

“I don’t regard it (monitoring) as my function,” says Potgieter . “I have much more to do than visit lion farms and see what they are doing.”

SEE: #ShockWildlifeTruths: Is SA’s predator breeding industry out of control?

... Meanwhile, the organisation own-up to organising a feeding initiative for rhino (mentioned above), which in essence is not a predator-related case. However, SAPA says it was done out of love for the rhino.  

Potgieter says that the predator breeding and hunting industry is tightly regulated by the national Department of Environmental Affairs and the environmental affairs departments of the nine provinces.  

He says that it is these government agencies' responsibility to monitor compliance according to their regulations, but that the process is not carried out in most of the provinces, with the Free State being an exception to this.  

"Mostly, provincial environment officers have neither the will nor the capacity to enforce compliance.  It is, in fact, their lack of delivery that creates an environment in which some permit holders do what they want and come away with it," says Potgieter.

What to read next on Traveller24?

Massive focus on SA's tourism offering as top Aussie travel writers conference heads to Cape Town

#ShockWildlifeTruths: Could new mega-reserves save Africa's lions?

WATCH: Kruger lion mega pride plays Porcupine Go