Visit South Africa's official Covid-19 resource portal

Wild animals in captivity

CapeNature is the regulatory authority in the Western Cape for the issuing of permits related to the protection of animals and plants, hunting and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.

CapeNature strives to provide effective, fair and efficient administrative support, and monitor compliance in terms of all relevant environmental legislation, through the Permit Office. 

What type of captivity requires a permit?

The keeping of any wild animal, other than unprotected birds, in captivity requires a permit issued by CapeNature.

Why do I need a permit?

In terms of section 31 of the Nature Conservation Ordinance, no person may keep any wild animal in captivity without a permit.

For birds, a captivity permit is only required for bird species classified as protected or endangered in terms of the ordinance.

How do I go about getting a permit?

You can either email a completed application form to permits.fax@capenature.co.za, or you can apply online through the CapeNature permits portal at https://www.capenature.co.za/permits-information.

How long will it take me to get a permit?

It will take 30 working days to issue a permit.

What is the cost of the administration fee?

A permit costs R150.

What type of activity requires a certificate?

A Certificate of Adequate Enclosure is required by game farm owners in terms of the Game Theft Act. It is intended to regulate the ownership of game for commercial or hunting purposes in certain instances; to combat theft as well as wrongful and unlawful hunting, catching and taking into possession of game; and to provide for related matters.

Such a certificate deems the land to be sufficiently enclosed, and thus vests ownership of the game in that landowner.

Why do I need a certificate?

A Certificate of Adequate Enclosure, issued in terms of section 35 of the Nature Conservation Ordinance, provides farm owners with various rights not usually afforded to other farm owners.

These rights include:

  • The hunting of the species of protected wild animals specified on the certificate at any time (i.e. out of official hunting season) and by any means (i.e. including the use of prohibited hunting methods, other than fire or poison) without the prior acquisition of a permit to do so
  • The capture and keeping in captivity of any animal species that appears on the certificate without having to first acquire a captivity permit
  • Property owners with a Certificate of Adequate Enclosure may sell or donate any animal, or the carcass of any such animal, from the species that appear on their certificate without having to acquire a permit to do so

It is important to note that in the case of the sale or donation of any live wild animal, in addition to a letter of sale or donation from the property owner, a transport permit is still required by the recipient to transport any live wild animal from a farm that has a Certificate of Adequate Enclosure.

It is also important to note that a Certificate of Adequate Enclosure will lapse upon the transfer or lease of the land, or any portion of the land, over which that certificate was issued.

How do I go about getting a certificate?

You can either submit a completed application form and supporting documents (including proof of payment) to permits.fax@capenature.co.za, or you can apply online through the CapeNature permits portal at https://www.capenature.co.za/permits-information.

How long will it take me to get a certificate?

It will take 30 working days to get the certificate.

What is the cost of the administration fee?

The certificate costs R1 000.

What type of activity requires a transport permit?

The transport of any live wild animal through the Western Cape – as well as the importing of wild animals into the province and the exporting of wild animals out of the province – requires a transport permit.

Why do I need a transport permit?

In terms of sections 44(1)(a), 57 and 58 of the Nature Conservation Ordinance, one needs a permit to import any wild animal into the Western Cape, and to export them from the province or transport them in or through it.

For birds, this provision only applies to birds that are listed as protected or endangered in terms of the ordinance.

How do I go about getting a transport permit?

You can either submit a completed application form (see below) and supporting documents (including proof of payment) to permits.fax@capenature.co.za, or you can apply online through the CapeNature permits portal at https://www.capenature.co.za/permits-information.

In order to facilitate the various permutations for transporting wild animals, CapeNature has created bespoke application forms for each type of wild animal movement. Please select the application form/permit type appropriate to your activity.

How long will it take me to get a transport permit?

It will take between three and 30 working days to obtain your permit, depending on the species applied for and the purpose for which the animals are being transported.

What is the cost of the administration fee?

The permit costs R150.