Bad karma for chameleon seller found guilty
THE NATIONAL Council of SPCAs (NSPCA) has welcomed the sentencing of a man to a R6 000 fine or imprisonment of six months in the Krugersdorp Magistrate’s Court for the illegal sale of a chameleon at the intersection of the N14 and R24 roads in Gauteng.
The council said this intersection was infamous for the illegal trade of indigenous, wild caught animals.
The suspect was arrested by an off duty NSPCA senior inspector who was travelling towards Johannesburg when she saw the person displaying a chameleon on a stick to passing motorists.
“The senior inspector was able to engage with the suspect and obtain vital evidence such as his name and his telephone number as well as identifying photographs of him in the act.
“He immediately laid charges at the Tarlton SAPS in terms of the Animals Protection Act No 71 of 1962 as well as Nature Conservation Ordinances for illegal activities with wildlife.
“Swift action by the Tarlton SAPS resulted in the arrest of the accused on the same day,” Irinka Schröder of the wildlife protection unit of the NSPCA said.
The accused pleaded guilty and accepted responsibility not only for the illegal capture and selling of an indigenous wild animal “but for also intentionally causing suffering”, the NSPCA said.
“The prosecutor made it very clear that chameleons are the third most traded species in the pet trade and one of the few countries that has a chameleon population.
“It is important that South Africa protects these vulnerable species,” Schröder said.
The accused was sentenced to a R6000 fine or imprisonment of six months but because he chose to plead guilty and was a first time offender, the sentence was suspended for five years on condition that he did not commit the same offence again.
“We applaud the magistrate and the prosecutor for deeming these offences serious. The illegal wildlife trade not only threatens the existence of countless species, but by taking these animals out of the wild and denying them their freedom seriously compromises their well-being.
“Furthermore, the complete disregard of laws as well as the lack of empathy towards these creatures detrimentally impacts society,” Schröder said. – 701787
NO CAMOUFLAGE: A man was fined R6 000 for trying to illegally sell a chameleon.