Many animals that are hunted are threatened or endangered species and hunting these species contravenes the National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act no 10 of 2004.
Some uncertainty exists regarding the unlawful use of dogs for hunting purposes, including associated regulations and law-enforcement thereof.
Despite that hunting with dogs has clear roots in cultural practices and traditions, including that it is still prevalent in some areas, a more corrupt, modernised form of hunting by illegal dog hunters and gamblers, labelled as ‘taxi’ hunts, is gradually becoming a more dominating spin-off compared to traditional means.
This form of hunting is primarily carried out by urban residents (often armed) with packs of dogs and undertaken with minimal respect for private or state property. These groups of hunters and associated activities cause an array of detrimental direct and indirect impacts on biodiversity, game populations, domestic stock and on society at large.
The law has failed to adequately deal with this growing problem leading to community members resorting to whatever methods necessary in an attempt to control this activity and protect their property. These actions are leading to increasing tension and are threatening to further destabilize the relationships between farmers, conservation authorities and adjacent communities.
Increased crime-fighting initiatives, law enforcement and cooperative unity amongst community members, conservation authorities and police officers are imperative to restrict this illegal activity.
The welfare concerns related with this practice is extensive, not only for the wild animals being hunted but also in the husbandry practices of the dogs. Wild animals are viciously ripped apart whilst still alive and if the hunter is willing to show mercy, the prey may be bludgeoned or speared to end their lives. Many of the prey animals are sold as muthi to the highest bidder. Animals such as pangolin, which are highly endangered, can be sold for tens of thousands of rands and no regard is given for the conservation status for this animal.
The dogs used to hunt wild animals are almost always kept in substandard conditions which include several dogs kept in small cage(s) and dirty parasitic conditions. Furthermore, the injuries sustained by the dogs during hunting are left untreated or self-medicated by the owners. The lack of veterinary treatment cause the dogs to suffer unnecessarily. The dogs often die because of heat stroke or severe injury sustained during the hunt.
Read more about the illegal hunting with dogs.