Title: National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act (10/2004): Draft Distribution Maps for certain Indigenous Species
Government Gazette number: GN 727 in GG 40398 of 3 November 2016
Commencing date: Not yet specified

An indigenous species is defined as follow: “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 result of human activity”. Alien species is either a species that is not indigenous, or an indigenous species that has been “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”.

Uncertainty often exists in respect of what the actual natural distribution range of a species is, which makes it difficult to determine the risk/s associated with a proposed translocation and to consider appropriate management interventions to minimise such risk/s. In order to provide certainty regarding the natural distribution ranges of indigenous species, the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) developed draft distribution maps that are now available for comment. These distribution maps involve certain indigenous species that are most commonly translocated within the wildlife industry.

It must be noted that the purpose of the distribution maps is neither to prohibit the translocation of specimens of listed threatened or protected species to areas that fall outside their natural distribution ranges, nor prohibit the introduction of these species in areas where they have not occurred before.

So what for my operation?
In terms of the NEMBA a permit must be obtained prior to conducting a restricted activity, that includes translocation, involving a listed threatened or protected species, or alien species. Once these distribution maps are finalised, it will assist operations and individuals in determining whether the activity planned to be conducted will indeed be deemed translocation of a species.