An exotic animal is mainly considered as an animal that is not indigenous to a particular country, however, when referring to pets, the term exotic refers to an animal that is considered unusual. The average South African household comprises of common pets such as cats and dogs, although in some places of the country this is not the case.
Many South Africans residing outside the city on farms or plots, often come across wild animals on their properties. Most people who encounter such animals, consider it a special occurrence and they’d prefer to leave it at that, for others, the urge to domesticate such animals increases with each occurrence.
In South Africa, the term “pet” does not have a distinct definition. For those who desire to domesticate wild animals, a permit in accordance with the Western Cape Nature Conservation Laws Amendment Act, 2000 is required. It is essential that such landowners are fully aware of the different species that may occur on their properties, as well as their ecological significance and vulnerability status. Before commencing with any domestication process, it is advised to consult environmental specialists who can determine through means of terrestrial and ecological studies, the different types of animals that occur in the area, as well as the role they play in their ecosystems. The terrestrial studies conducted consist of field observations such as identifying tracks and animal droppings. All the signs obtained during these field observations contribute to the understanding of the existing ecosystem. Additionally, the specialist would be able to provide information with regards to the animal’s vulnerability status and whether such an animal may be disturbed. Being aware of the different species occurring in the area, as well as their vulnerability status can contribute to the conservation of such species.
Failing to adhere to this may lead to adverse consequences, as the removal of an animal for domestication purposes can disrupt the ecosystem it was taken from and in turn affect the residents in the area. For example, domesticating Servals (Leptailurus serval) in an area can lead to an increase in the rat population, which in turn may lead to a decrease in fresh produce production.
It is therefore important to seek assistance from environmental specialists to help understand the ecological contents of an area before attempting to remove or domesticate any animals living in such an area.
Environmental Assurance provides terrestrial services in which ecological studies are conducted by highly skilled and qualified professionals to determine existing faunal species.