I have many years experience of rehabilitating wildlife, and running a wildlife sanctuary originally in the Kalahari and currently in the Klein Karoo.
I read on page 18 on the Minister's Position Statement that " there are no standards, regulations or guidelines for effective rehabilitation of animals."
Nearly twenty years ago I drafted a comprehensive policy for government to adopt, or at least use as a basis for discussion, and sent it to all conservation structures, provincial and national. I did not try to re-invent the wheel, instead I took the policy from the American Sanctuaries Association, and adapted it to SA needs.
Not a single conservation authority even acknowledged receipt.
After many years dealing with conservation structures I would describe conservation in SA as an ugly mess, and a black hole that devours intelligent input and puts out nothing.
Pasted below it is available. Use it or lose it.
Director: Campaign Against Canned Hunting. (registered NGO)
WILDLIFE SANCTUARIES AND REHABILITATION CENTRES IN SOUTH AFRICA.
DRAFT POLICY - DISCUSSION DOCUMENT
NATIONAL PRINCIPLES, NORMS AND STANDARDS FOR ANIMAL SANCTUARIES
The Kalahari Raptor Centre
PO Box 1386, Kathu, 8446
Tel: 053 712 3576.
The draft document provides national norms and standards for wildlife sanctuaries in South Africa within the context of applicable national policies and legislation.
· To provide a national approach to the establishment and registration of animal sanctuaries.
· To ensure that the animal sanctuaries are managed and monitored according to the set norms and standards.
“alien species” means
a. any 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.
“animal” means any mammal, bird, reptile, or amphibian.
“animal sanctuary” means a care and rehabilitation facility recognized by the animal welfare community where wild animals in need of care are provided with the appropriate care and housing or when possible, rehabilitated and returned to the wild.
"animal welfare community" means the broad-based community as defined in the National Environmental Management Act, 107 of 1998, whose main concern is for the welfare of animals.
"animal welfare committee" means a committee elected by the animal welfare community to carry out supervision duties under this policy.
“commercial” means an act that is done for the purpose of financial gain
“euthanasia” means the bringing about of an animal's death in a humane, pain-free manner.
“IATA” means the International Air Transport Association.
“indigenous species” means a species that occurs, or has historically occurred, naturally in a free state 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.
“notifiable disease” means a disease that, by statutory/legal requirements, must be reported to the public health or other authority in the pertinent jurisdiction when diagnosis has been made.
“rehabilitate” means the treatment, handling husbandry and preparation of an animal for release, in such a manner as to ensure that the animal is capable of surviving on its own in the wild.
“re-introduction” means an attempt to establish a species in an area which was once part of its historical range, but from which it has been extirpated or become extinct.
“species” means a kind of animal, plant or other organism that does not normally interbreed with individuals of another kind, and includes any subspecies, cultivar, variety, geographic race, strain, hybrid or geographically separate population.
“veterinarian” means any person registered as a veterinarian with the South African Veterinary Council in terms of the Veterinary and Paraveterinary Act, 1992.
“welfare” means the provision of circumstances that contribute to the well being of the animal
“wild animal” means a species of bird, reptile or other animal that is not normally domesticated in South Africa.
Animal sanctuaries must be established taking into consideration the following principles:
3.1. Captive Breeding
AWC members will not encourage captive animals to breed unless the progeny can successfully be released into suitable habitat. Reversible contraception methods according to the requirements of the animal, and the availability of expertise and equipment should be used wherever possible. AWC members accept that in some cases, permanent sterilization may be used, but careful deliberation for long-term implications should be considered.
Release and Reintroduction
Where possible and appropriate, AWC members are encouraged to manage captive populations in such a way that release back into the wild may be possible, in accordance with accepted guidelines. If release is being considered, the development of the project and the site selection will need to be taken into consideration from the outset.
3.2. Animal acquisition policy
Ideally, no AWC sanctuary would purchase or provide compensation as a condition of acquiring any animal. AWC members should not engage a third party, even a government official, to do so on their behalf. All animals in an AWC sanctuary should have been confiscated by relevant authorities, surrendered or donated by the person/s holding the animals. AWC members agree to make every effort to educate such person/s in a positive and interactive way, not to take animals out of their natural environment.
However, circumstances alter cases, and it may sometimes be necessary for a sanctuarian to purchase animals, to save their lives or to remove them from intolerable conditions. When doing so the sanctuarian should bear in mind that by doing so he is promoting the keeping of animals in captivity, and that he should try to strike a balance between the welfare of the particular animal and the broader interest of animal protection. Working with NSPCA and other responsible authorities to remove an animal from poor conditions to a reputable AWC sanctuary without payment is a better option.
3.3. Exploitation of animals in sanctuary.
The primary purpose of the facility should be the protection of the animals at the facility. Animals should not normally be used for any commercial purpose, sold, traded or hired out for entertainment, or used for any unnatural purposes. However, many sanctuaries allow visitors who view and photograph unreleasable animals, and so long as the animals are not stressed, such interaction can be useful as a source of income, an added local tourist attraction and as a tool for education.
Sanctuaries accept lifetime responsibility for their resident animals
A facility may rehabilitate and release animals to an appropriate habitat if the animal is indigenous to the area and not imprinted on humans.
AWC members agree to cooperate with member sanctuaries in the placement of animals in the most appropriate facility for the individual, taking into consideration the species or subspecies' natural origins, the welfare of the individual and possibility for integration into a social group.
It may transfer animals to another approved facility that is better suited to their needs. Potentially dangerous wild and alien animals should not be placed into household situations for private ownership.
3.4. Euthanasia policy
Euthanasia means to cause humane and painless death (i.e. unconsciousness is rapidly induced and succeeded by cardiac arrest and clinical death; thereby not subjecting the animal to pain, distress, anxiety or apprehension)
AWC does not rule out the use of Euthanasia. But it should only be used as a final option, after all other options have been considered and either attempted or judged impossible. Euthanasia cannot be used as management tool. Below are examples of cases where euthanasia may be accepted:
- Incurable disease/injury that is likely to cause pain or suffering;
- Disease/injury where treatment is likely to cause unreasonable pain or suffering;
- Disease/injury where treatment will not be effective in restoring the animal to an acceptable quality of life;
- Where the process of aging has resulted in an unacceptable quality of life;
- In the event of presenting an infectious disease risk to the rest of the resident population.
AWC cannot support vivisection or invasive or obtrusive research on animals. AWC members are also aware that laboratory conditions do not offer the standard of care of a sanctuary. Eliminating the need for laboratory experimentation is an AWC goal and members will not consider assisting with research proposals that will in any way create the impression that a sanctuary is a surrogate laboratory.
Research policy is as follows:
· Research involving wild populations associated with sanctuaries must be non-disruptive to their social order. This includes no provision of feeding and no habituation of primates where risks from hunting exist now or may in the future.
· Biological research will be conducted only in response to member facilities’ animal management needs, and samples should be taken only during routine examinations.
· Research cannot be exploratory nor justified on the grounds of human medical benefit.
· No laboratory or researcher can infect/inject other animals experimentally with infectious agents derived from samples obtained from sanctuaries. Behavioral/ ethological research that encourages non-natural behavior when animals have reached an advanced stage of rehabilitation should be discouraged. Acceptable research should involve minimal modification of animals’ and staff’s daily routine.
3.6. Local Community and Government Relations
AWC members will ensure that a significant amount of staff is employed from local communities.
Where possible, AWC members will provide sustainable economic opportunities to local communities (such as labour, purchase of food and transportation, etc.).
AWC members will strive to ensure that local communities are aware of the purpose of the projects, the need for conservation in general, and the need for protection of wild and captive primates and their habitat.
AWC members will ensure that official permission from traditional, local and national government institutions is obtained to be in operation and, where possible, have NGO / charity / not-for-profit status.
Where possible, AWC members will investigate the long-term plans of governments, companies and communities regarding land-use near the sanctuary/ release sites. Where possible, AWC members will advocate the protection and preservation of these areas to avoid future conflicts between humans and animals, to the detriment of both.
AWC members should develop guidelines for appropriate land use including non-lethal methods of problem animal control.
AWC has no policy regarding the promotion of tourism at member sanctuaries, other than to stress that it should be subsidiary to and complementary of, animal welfare. If AWC members decide to encourage tourist activities on a sanctuary-by-sanctuary basis, each should ensure that it is in the best interest of the staff and animals.
AWC recognizes that the future success and effectiveness of its members lies in the ability to promote a unified conservation education message. AWC members are encouraged to design, implement, and support education programs through their sanctuaries, with an emphasis on the protection of local wildlife and wild spaces.
4. NORMS AND STANDARDS
4.1. Administration and Management requirements
4.1.1. The facilities must obtain and maintain the required permit(s) which shall not unreasonably be withheld, from the conservation authorities
4.1.2. The facilities must comply with national and provincial laws and also with approved codes of practice.
4.1.3. The type of sanctuary and the animal species to be kept should be specified in the permit application, unless the applicant requires an open permit for general welfare purposes.
4.1.4. For all alien species the applicant must submit a risk assessment plan.
4.1.5. Save for existing facilities, the applicant must prepare and submit a management plan which must also address the following:
· fully developed mission statements, objectives and policies;
· sufficient evidence of its financial stability;
· contingency plan ( a plan for the continuance of the facility and lifetime care of its animals should the founder (director) become incapable of continuing the daily operations of the facility);
· animal inspection program, whereby the facility will be inspected periodically by members of the animal welfare committee
· security measures
· first aid and emergency procedures;
4.1.4. All facilities are required to maintain a Register with all relevant details relating to the animals kept at the Centre.
4.1.5. Facilities may elect to acquire non-profit status.
4.1.6. Fundraising activities must be conducted with honesty and integrity.
4.1.7. Facilities must conduct business and related activities in a professional manner.
4.2. Transporting of animals
4.2.1. The facility director must ensure that the transport of the animal is safe, humane and adheres to the minimum requirements for the transport of wild animals.
4.2.2 The inter-provincial transport of animals must be according to the relevant provincial legal requirements.
4.2.3. The international transport of animals must be according to the IATA regulations.
4.2.4. Health certificates and any transport permits should accompany the animal transfer.
4.3. Veterinary care
4.3.1. An experienced and registered veterinarian(s) must be locally available to provide advice.
4.3.2. To prevent the breeding of animals, reproductive control programs appropriate to the animal species kept must be adopted.
4.3.3. A quarantine area for newly acquired animals to prevent disease transmission should be established.
4.3.4. A separate area for the examination and treatment of animals should be established
4.3.5. A separate area for the care of especially distressed or sick animals must be established.
Complete records of each animal's health history should be maintained and available.
4.3.6. Handling, administration, control and storage of drugs must be in compliance with the relevant acts and regulations.
4.3.7. The State veterinarian must be informed any notifiable diseases or unusual outbreaks, conditions etc.
4.3.8. A qualified veterinarian should perform a post-mortem on animals that die in quarantine, under unusual circumstances or of unknown causes.
4.4. Feeding of animals
4.4.1. Animal diets must be of a quality, quantity, variety and nutritive value suitable for the animal's nutritional needs.
4.4.2. The animals must have access to clean potable water of sufficient quantity at all times.
4.4.3. Food supplies and drink are to be kept and prepared under
4.5. Housing of animals
4.5.1. The animals must be kept in escape proof enclosures and designed to minimize the risk of injury to animals and staff or public
4.5.2. The animal enclosures must be of a size, design and complexity sufficient to provide for the animal ‘s physical, physiological and psychological requirements. Minimum standards should be agreed by the animal welfare community, and attached as conditions to the relevant permits.
4.5.3. The enclosures must provide protection from prevailing weather conditions and predators.
4.5.4. The animal enclosures should whenever possible replicate their wild habitat and be kept in numbers to meet their social and behavioral needs.
4.5.5. The enclosures should allow easy feeding and cleaning.
4.5.6. Enclosures effectively prevent the transmission of diseases.
4.5.7. Proper standards of hygiene in the enclosures should be maintained.
4.5.8. Animals should wherever possible be kept in compatible groups with others of its kind.
- Disposal of waste or dead animals
This should be done in compliance with the relevant national and provincial legal requirements, and with sensible practices for hygiene and disease control.
4.7.1. Staff should be given appropriate training with regard to the handling and caring of the animals.
4.7.2. There should be adequate number of staff to care for the animals appropriately and to conduct the work of the facility.
4.7.3. All staff members should obtain relevant vaccinations (inoculations) such as for tetanus, TB (if caring for primates) to eliminate possible disease transmittance from or to animals.
5. ANIMAL WELFARE COMMUNITY (AWC) MISSION STATEMENT
AWC member sanctuaries are committed to providing the best possible facilities and care to captive African animals, while working towards the protection and conservation of the species in the wild.
CODE OF CONDUCT and POLICIES OF AWC
The AWC will act in the best interest of animal welfare and the integrity, efficiency, impartiality, and fairness of its members must be beyond question. The acts of one individual can seriously affect the reputation and standing of the whole community. It is the responsibility of all members and their staff to be vigilant and aware of the potential for misconduct, and maintain high morals, a strong sense of professionalism, and a commitment to the objectives of animal welfare.
This Code of Conduct establishes standards of behaviour expected of members and their staff and is a guide to solving ethical issues for those whose work involves caring for animals in sanctuaries situated in Africa. While there are no set rules capable of providing answers to all ethical questions that may arise, this code provides the framework for appropriate conduct in a variety of contexts. It is intended to convey the obligations placed on, and the behaviour expected of, all members and their staff.
The AWC Code of Conduct assumes a number of values that require members and all staff to exhibit:
· A concern for the animals
· Personal and institutional commitment to animal welfare
AWC: Operational Philosophy
· That the welfare of the animal is paramount,
· That holistic and long-term approaches shall be adopted as these challenges are addressed
· Creating, managing and maintaining sanctuaries for the care of animals in need, with priority given to those animals in our respective regions
· Extending to all animals the dignity and respect that they deserve as sentient beings, making informed provision for them to express their natural behaviours
· Assisting in the conservation of wild animal populations and their natural habitats and to undertake activities that promote and support the protection of wildlife and their habitats
· Developing, through education and public awareness, an understanding and appreciation of animal welfare, in local communities
· Ensuring that no captive animals – including those in the sanctuaries -- are used for any purpose other than welfare, and education and that the animals shall receive the very best of care.
· Agreeing that research that compromises the well-being of individuals cannot be considered acceptable. Use of animals as pets and/or for entertainment at the expense of the animal's well-being is not accepted by AWC and its members
· Forming working relationships (where possible!) with the relevant wildlife authorities and any other relevant institutions
· Striving to continually improve care and husbandry techniques
· That project design, development, implementation and management practice should be based on sound, modern, scientific principles
· Ensuring that the captive population is managed in such a way that reintroduction can be considered in the future, if feasible or appropriate
In the broad nature of the community, some kind of representation is required, but we should be careful not to allow appointees to use the AWC for their own purposes. Democracy means that a majority of members must be properly consulted and given all relevant information so that each one can make an informed decision.
AWC will elect members to represent their interests either generally or for specific projects. Voting and appointment can be done by email. Representatives will strive to provide the best leadership, judgement and advice on behalf of its members, and work in all areas to promote the success of the community. Any one member may represent the AWC, but in the age of emails all significant decisions should involve everyone in the community.