The legislative framework pertaining to seabird rehabilitation centres in South Africa : importance to seabird conservation

Makoala, Millicent Molesane (2018-03)

Thesis (MPhil)--Stellenbosch University, 2018.

Thesis

ENGLISH SUMMARY: Seabird rehabilitation centres play a critical role in the conservation of seabirds in South Africa. There has been an increase in the decline of seabirds globally including in South Africa, mainly from anthropogenic activities. Seabird rehabilitation centres have occupied a niche responsibility that was previously unoccupied in society. In this, they have demonstrated immense capability in contributing to seabird conservation, by treating distressed, ill, injured or orphaned seabirds with the aim of releasing them back into the wild. Despite these conservation efforts, the environmental legislation has been lagging in respects of regulating seabird rehabilitation centres. This study, therefore, aimed to investigate how environmental legislation can help improve the management of seabirds in rehabilitation, to strengthen conservation efforts; reviewed the understanding of the environmental legislative framework for seabird rehabilitation in South Africa and also examined policy options for improving the state of seabird rehabilitation centres, to promote seabird conservation in South Africa. The data on the conservation functions and responsibilities of seabird rehabilitation centres in South Africa was obtained through the use of a semi-structured questionnaire. The questionnaire was comprised of five sections titled “General, Collection of Animals, The Release, Finance and Legislative Requirements”. The study confirmed that seabird rehabilitation centres do play a critical role in the conservation of seabirds. However, there are operational challenges in fulfilling this role. The study also confirmed that there is minimal government support and that the legislation regulating seabird rehabilitation centres still does not fully address challenges experienced by the seabird rehabilitation centres. The study also acknowledges that there are attempts by the Department of Environmental Affairs, in revising its policies and rationalising its legislation, to minimise fragmentation of legislation regulating seabird rehabilitation centres. The study concludes that a clear policy objective and intervention will address key issues affecting seabird rehabilitation centres and will ensure the reform of this sector. The recommendations of the study state that other policy tools, such as Norms and Standards, can be used to provide much-needed guidelines. A rigorous process involving both rehabilitators and government officials is required to improve the level of competence. The government must also recognise the need for coordination with state entities and organisations with the necessary skills to augment the staff capacity constraint. Furthermore, alignment of legislation to minimize duplication and identify economic instruments to incentivise seabird rehabilitation centres is needed. Lastly, strategic locations within the country and the threshold on the number of seabird rehabilitation centres needs to be identified, to prevent the proliferation of facilities that compete for an already strained financial resource.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Seevoël-rehabilitasiesentrums speel ‘n kritiese rol in die bewaring van seevoëls in Suid-Afrika. Daar is ‘n toename in die vermindering van die seevoël-bevolking wêreldwyd, insluitende Suid-Afrika, hoofsaaklik weens antropogeniese bedrywighede. Seevoël-rehabilitasiesentrums het ‘n nis-verantwoordelikheid vervul wat voorheen in die samelewing afwesig was. Hierdie nis-verantwoordelikheid het ontsaglike vermoë openbaar om by te dra tot die bewaring van seevoëls deur gestresde, siek, beseerde of wees seevoëls te behandel met die doel om hulle weer in die natuur terug te plaas. Ondanks hierdie bewaringspogings, het omgewingswetgewing om seevoël-rehabilitasiesentrums te reguleer, egter agterweë gebly. Hierdie studie het dus ten doel om ondersoek in te stel na hoe omgewingswetgewing kan help om die bestuur van seevoël-rehabilitasie te verbeter, ten einde bewaringspogings te versterk. Hierdie studie kyk ook oorsigtelik na die begrip van die wetlike raamwerk rondom omgewingsake vir die rehabilitasie van seevoëls in Suid-Afrika. Die data van die funksies en verantwoordelikheid van bewaring van seevoël-rehabilitasiesentrums in Suid-Afrika is verkry deur van ‘n semi-gestruktureerde vraelys gebruik te maak. Die vraelys bestaan uit vyf afdelings genaamd “Algemeen, Versameling van Diere, Die Vrylating, Finansies en Wetlike Vereistes.” Die studie het bevestig dat seevoël-rehabilitasiesentrums ‘n kritiese rol in die bewaring van seevoëls speel. Daar is egter operasionele uitdagings om dié rol te kan vervul. Die studie het ook bevestig dat daar minimale ondersteuning van regeringskant is, en dat die wetgewing wat seevoël-rehabilitasiesentrums reguleer steeds nie die uitdagings, wat deur seevoël-rehabilitasiesentrums ondervind word, aanspreek nie. Hierdie studie erken ook dat daar pogings van die kant van die Departement van Omgewingsake is om die beleid en rasionalisering van sy wetgewing te hersien, sodat die fragmentasie van wetgewing wat die seevoël-rehabilitasiesentrums reguleer, geminimaliseer word. Met dié studie is tot die gevolgtrekking gekom dat ‘n duidelike beleid-doelstelling en intervensie die sleutel-kwessies sal aanspreek, wat seevoël-rehabilitasie se reformasie van hierdie sektor sal verseker. Die voorstelle van die studie stel dit dat ander beleidsmiddele, soos Norme en Standaarde, gebruik kan word om die nodige riglyne te verskaf. ‘n Streng proses, wat beide die rehabiliteerders sowel as die regeringsamptenare betrek, is nodig om die vlak van bevoegdheid te verbeter. Die regering moet ook die behoefte vir koördinering met staatsentiteite en organisasies met die nodige vaardighede erken, sodat die beperking aan personeel-kapasiteit uitgeskakel kan word. Voorts word belyning van wetgewing om duplisering te minimaliseer, en die identifisering van ekonomiese instrumente, benodig om stukrag aan die seevoël-rehabilitasiesentrums te verleen. Laastens moet strategiese plekke in die land, en die drumpels van die seevoël-rehabilitasiesentrums, geïdentifiseer word om die uitbreiding van fasiliteite, wat reeds om bystand uit ’n beperkte finansiële bron meeding, te verhoed.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/103648
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