Elsewhere in The Village NEWS, the EMS foundation, amongst others, has discussed captive elephants and other wild animals and Craig Saunders’ proposed venture at length. This fellow is the author of the proposed cableway into Fernkloof Nature Reserve, which was included in the doomed management plan presented to the public in Sept 2017 by the Overstrand Municipality’s environmental department, which evoked unprecedented outrage in our community and from folk nationally and internationally.
The proposal by the same man, for a safari park / wildlife sanctuary / game farm should elicit even greater outrage from our community. The Overstrand Municipality should have realised by now that public opinion is key.
Again, a small advert in one of the local newspapers and, outrageously, a 30-day commentary period for the public, is deemed to be sufficient. There is ONE hard copy at the Kleinmond Library and the more than 700 pages we have counted are to be accessed online by those that can. This is not possible for the average reasonable person nor desirable, we suggest. Fair, in-depth and responsible comment, after research, is simply not achievable in that very short space of time – all of this assuming that people are even aware of the proposal and the fact that they may participate.
We suggest that, beside the desirability of such a venture being questioned from an environmental point of view, amongst many, many others, the impact on the region from an economic point of view will be extremely negative. People from all around the world are boycotting all activities that exploit captive animals for pure financial gain as the issues and activities behind the scenes are uncovered. The outrage expressed at the canned lion industry is an example.
The discussion that needs to happen about this proposal is complicated and extensive and not possible in a simple letter. The ‘Hands off’ movement will set up a dedicated social media page soon to assist in this regard. We urge all concerned citizens to register as IAP’s soonest and specifically to demand an extension on the commentary period. ‘Hands off’ will assist with guidance on our existing social media page.
There has already been huge controversy over the wild horses “captured” on Lamloch due to the electrified fence erected by Saunders. We have no doubt that more controversy is to come if we do not now, once again in our numbers, object to this outrage.
The Overberg, fellow readers, is a special place where our reasonably pristine, at this stage, environment is the major attraction to visitors and tourism, our mainstay. The uniqueness of our region, the whales, the fynbos, the magnificent fauna and flora… visitors know where to go to experience wild animals running and roaming free. Let us again resist, in our numbers, a proposed venture that wishes to exploit not only captive but other wild animals for pure financial gain, and also wishes to exploit the discerning visitors that come to our region for its unique magnificence by offering a sham non-authentic wildlife experience within our midst. We have shown what public opinion can achieve. Let us do it again!