Who owns and is responsible for the elephant in the room? Management plans for free-roaming elephant in South Africa

Authors

  • Andrew Blackmore Ezemvelo KwaZulu-Natal Wildlife, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa; School of Law, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
  • Arie Trouwborst Department of European and International Public Law, Tilburg University, Netherlands

Keywords:

Elephant, Game, Common Law, Management Plans, Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAS), Norms and standards, Ownership, Public Trust Doctrine, Res nullius, Wildlife

Abstract

In 2008, South Africa adopted its ‘National Norms and Standards for the Management of Elephants in South Africa’. Concern has subsequently been raised as to whether these norms and standards apply to free-ranging elephant on land, which had not been enclosed with a fence with the express purpose of containing these animals and other game on the property. The application of these norms and standards pivots on whether the owner(s) of the property have taken possession of these animals in accordance with common law applicable to game, or have given effect to the provisions of the Game Theft Act. To address this concern, this article briefly explores the evolution of South African regulatory jurisprudence applicable to game, including elephant, and analyses the norms and standards in relation to international and national legislation and common law applying to elephants. The norms and standards are not applicable to unowned, free-roaming elephant. These norms and standards, therefore, do not fulfil their primary objective of uniform management of elephant across South Africa. This limitation of the norms and standards, therefore, needs to be considered when they are revised.

Published

2018-06-07

How to Cite

Blackmore, A. ., & Trouwborst, A. . (2018). Who owns and is responsible for the elephant in the room? Management plans for free-roaming elephant in South Africa. Bothalia, African Biodiversity & Conservation, 48(2). Retrieved from https://abcjournal.org/index.php/BothaliaABC/article/view/52