SATTA: No foreign hunters this year, but awaiting easing of regulations
Published: 22nd May 2020
Rayton, Gauteng, SA - The hunting and taxidermy sectors are awaiting the easing of restrictions on the transport of trophies and game skins across provincial boundaries, and on a broader definition of allowed hunting, before they can resume commercially viable operations.
"There are so many apparent contradictions in the rules," said Pieter Swart, exco member of the SA Taxidermy & Tannery Association (SATTA), and member of Afrikan Traders Online cc.
"In theory, some hunting is allowed - game farms are allowed to cull, for example - but at this point, recreational hunting is not allowed, and the various hunting associations are advising their members not to do so.
"The hunting industry had a virtual meeting yesterday (May 19) with Minister [of Environment, Forestry & Fisheries Barbara] Creecy and her officials. She and her department are working extremely hard to get 'Subsistence Hunting' open in Level 3.
"To add to the confusion, taxidermies are allowed to export, but we're not allowed to cross provincial boundaries to collect trophies from game farms, except to transport hunting trophies over provincial borders to the port of entry for export."
The taxidermy industry has been hit particularly hard for 2 reasons:
They have been told that international hunters - classified as tourists - who make up around 70% of the SA taxidermy industry's income, will not be allowed into the country until late this year at the earliest, after the hunting season. Although the season could be extended into spring, it poses a risk for operations without chilling facilities.
Also, the lockdown came just before the start of the hunting season, which runs from April to August, which meant that although they are allowed to finish work on skins brought in before the lockdown, few had much work left to complete.
Relatively few skins from culling operations are sent to taxidermies to produce mounts or trophies. Most are sold to game skin tanneries to process into hair-on or upholstery leather.
"It's not a good situation, but SATTA has had excellent service from the DTIC - particularly Dr Jaywant Irkhede - thoughout," he said. "That's been the one positive in this situation. We are working closely with the DTIC to compile a strategic rapid recovery plan for the whole leather and footwear industry."