Bad karma for chameleon seller found guilty

The New Age (Free State) - - NEWS - TNA REPORTER

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.

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