APPENDIX 1. TOPS regulations: key points relating to conservation and wildlife ranching


(1) Issuing authorities considering a permit application for a TOPS species have to take into account a number of factors, including: the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List for Threatened Species status, whether the restricted activity in respect of which the application is submitted is likely to have a negative impact on the survival of the relevant listed threatened or protected species,the biodiversity management plan for the species concerned, if any, relevant information on the database that the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) is required to keep in terms of section 11(1)(j) of the National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act (NEMBA), and any risk assessment or expert evidence requested by the issuing authority (Regulation 10).

(2) Applications involving wild populations of critically endangered species require additional measures, including: (1) a risk assessment, and (2) consideration as to whether the restricted activity applied for is in line with the biodiversity management plan for the species involved (Regulation 11).

(3) Additional factors to be taken into account by issuing authorities when considering applications for hunting permits include: the hunting off-take limits determined by SANBI for a listed threatened or protected animal species (Regulation 12).

(4) In the case of a damage-causing animal originating from a protected area, a standard set of control options must be considered by the relevant provincial department. A damage-causing animal may only be killed without a permit in self-defence where human life is threatened (Regulation 14).

(5) An issuing authority must refuse a permit application for the translocation of a specimen of a listed threatened or protected species to an extensive wildlife system: (1) if such an extensive wildlife system falls outside the natural distribution range of that animal species and the extensive wildlife system is a protected area, or (2) if there is a risk of transmitting disease or of hybridization with other species in that extensive wildlife system (Regulation 23).

(6) Prohibited activities now include the hunting of a listed large predator, white or black rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum or Diceros bicornis), that is a put-and-take animal or in a controlled environment, that is, “canned” hunting† and the use of any tranquilizing agents or use of a gin trap (Regulation 24).

(7) Prohibited activities involving listed threatened or protected Encephalartos species include: gathering, cutting, destroying, and trade in artificially propagated specimens of critically endangered or endangered Encephalartos species or the export of such specimens, with a stem diameter of more than 15 cm, except where provided for in a biodiversity management plan approved by the Minister in terms of section 43 of the Biodiversity Act (Regulation 25; amended 27 February 2009).

(8) Dart or “green” hunting‡ is now prohibited except in cases where a veterinarian or a person authorized by a veterinarian in writing is in possession of valid permit (Regulation 26).

(9) Bow hunting of a listed large predator, crocodile (Crocodilus, white and black rhinoceros, and elephant (Elephas) is now prohibited (Regulation 26).

(10) Compulsory conditions for the registration of captive breeding operations: the person to whom the registration certificate is granted must prevent hybridization and/or inbreeding, keep a stud book where appropriate, and provide information each year to the issuing authority (Regulation 35; also see Appendix 2).

(11) A Scientific Authority has been established that will meet at least once a year to develop a report to the Minister regarding compliance with provisions in terms of section 61 of the Biodiversity Act (Regulations 59/65).


†Green hunting is where animals are hunted by means of a dart containing an immobilizing agent.

‡Canned hunting is where lions are bred and hunted within in a controlled, caged environment for commercial purposes.