Bearded dragon legislation in South Africa
Legal issues surrounding the ownership of these lizards in South Africa are frequent concerns of new and aspiring Bearded dragon keepers. According to the law, ownership not only entails the keeping, breeding and transportation of Bearded dragons, but also the import of new stock into the country.
Recently, new legislation regarding the ownership of exotic, including potential invasive, animals has seen the light. Bearded dragons are not naturally found in South Africa and are considered ‘exotic’ or ‘alien’. Although they are not listed invasive, government is attempting to control the numbers of Bearded dragons in South Africa by means of permits.
Keeping permits for Bearded dragons in South Africa
In South Africa, non-invasive ‘exotic’ animals, including Bearded dragons, are regulated differently in each of our nine provinces. Some provinces require permits for owning a Bearded dragon.
For all practical purposes, Bearded dragons are allowed to be kept without a permit in the Eastern Cape, Free State, Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal. Keeping permits are required in Mpumalanga, Northern Cape, Western Cape and North West provinces. The legislation is unclear about Limpopo province.
In most cases, permit application forms need to be accompanied with a risk assessment for the species in question. Permit applications are done through the Department of Environmental Affairs in the respective province.
- Alien reptiles and amphibians in South Africa: Towards a pragmatic management strategy, 2008. Nicola J. van Wilgen, David M. Richardson and Ernst H.W. Baard.