Pretoria: Members of the public are invited to submit comments on the maps reflecting the natural distribution range of 21 indigenous mammal species.
According to the National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act, 2004 (Act No. 10 of 2004), indigenous species refers to species that occur or has historically occurred naturally in nature within the borders of the Republic, but excludes a species that has been introduced in the Republic as a result of human activity.
Further, an alien species is defined as: a) a species that is not an indigenous species; or b) an indigenous species translocated or intended to be translocated to a place outside its natural distribution range in nature, but not an indigenous species that has extended its natural distribution range by natural means of migration or dispersal without human intervention.
The Department of Environmental Affairs says the distribution maps will assist in providing some clarity relating to the natural distribution range of species.
“The maps will be developed as a phased process … The present distribution maps include 21 indigenous mammal species that are most commonly translocated within the wildlife industry,” the department explained.
Some of the mammals include impala, springbok, white rhino, eland and the Cape buffalo.
The department also noted that the translocation of these mammals are regulated in terms of both provincial and national biodiversity legislation, but factors considered in evaluating permit applications often differ between provinces.
As such, the department said it is anticipated that the distribution maps will assist in addressing some of the challenges and provide clarity on the natural distribution range of indigenous species.
The distribution maps were developed based on a set of predetermined principles, which include the historical distribution of mammals, as well as vegetation types to indicate the sustainability of the habitat to indigenous mammals.
Members of the public are invited to submit written comments to the Department of Environmental Affairs by downloading the template and returning it via email: firstname.lastname@example.org by no later than 31 August 2013.