The Johannesburg Wildlife Veterinary Hospital has urged all South Africans not to purchase chameleons offered for sale by hawkers. It is illegal to do so and a demand for these creatures will continue to encourage their being taken out of the wild.
‘Recently we have received several Flap-Neck Chameleon’s (Chamaeleo Dilepis). It is not uncommon for us to have chameleon patients – many of whom come from the illegal wildlife trade,’ the Hospital wrote on Facebook.
‘You might be aware of the illegal wildlife trade that occurs en route to Sun City. As difficult as it is, we encourage members of the public to NOT buy these animals as it encourages supply, thus further perpetuating the problem.
‘The SPCA is the only organisation that can confiscate the animals being illegally sold. The SPCA regularly raid the area, confiscating animals, and laying charges of animal cruelty against the suspects.Our thanks to the brave SPCA team that regularly do this!’ they added.
There are 202 recorded species of chameleons in the world, 19 of which occur in South Africa, according to Kariega Game Reserve. Chameleons are not endangered, but are threatened by human activities like chemical pest control as insects are a large part of their diet, as well as habitat loss through veld fires and urban development.
Anyone who comes across chameleons being hawked should contact the National Council of SPCAs Wildlife protection unit at 011 907 3590.
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