The National Council of SPCAs (NSPCA) laid charges against an illegal wildlife trader for the sale of indigenous wild animals that had been poached from the wild. The accused pleaded guilty and was sentenced in the Bafokeng Regional Court on Thursday, 27 September 2018.
In January 2018, NSPCA Wildlife Inspectors were travelling towards Sun City where they were approached by an illegal wildlife trader who accosted the Inspectors and attempted to sell a chameleon and a tortoise to them. The Inspectors immediately laid charges against the trader and supplied evidence to support their case.
The matter was originally being heard in the Bafokeng District Court where the Magistrate had deemed this a serious crime and had the case moved to the Bafokeng Regional Court. The accused, Mr Phemelo Kwele, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 6 months imprisonment or a R6000 fine which has been suspended for 5 years.
“The impact that this crime has is completely devastating, not only for the animals that are poached but for the entire wildlife population as well. This crime also involves innocent members of society as well; children are often used unknowingly to catch these animals and form part of this criminal activity – it is a crime that is destroying our natural heritage and society as a whole,” said National Inspector Irinka Schroder of the NSPCA Wildlife Protection Unit.
Members of the public can assist the NSPCA in putting a stop to this horrific crime by taking as much detail of the perpetrators as possible and if it is safe to do so, take photographs or videos, and report this to the NSPCA or the local SPCA.
We implore the public not to purchase these animals, even if the intentions are good. The sale of these animals only fuels the trade – if there is no demand then there is no need for the supply.