Newsletter - Animal Writes sm
17 December 2000 Issue

Update on the Caracals
from C Mercer - [email protected]


As a result of an application to the Supreme Court brought by the Kalahari Raptor Centre against the Northern Cape Nature Conservation department, the three young caracals (they are no longer kittens) will be returned to the Kalahari Raptor Centre.

Exactly one week ago on Friday 8th December, a convoy of Nature Conservation officials and South African Policemen including the video unit of the SAP descended on the KRC in a cloud of Kalahari dust, in order to confiscate the three caracals. Before allowing the convoy to enter the property, Chris Mercer read out a list of warnings to the effect that the warrant of search and seizure was invalid, that the criminal charges were an abuse of the process of the law, that the confiscation was illegal and that the Supreme Court would be approached for relief forthwith.

The invaders were made to sign that they had understood the warning, after which they entered the private nature reserve in which the KRC is situated, captured the caracals over a stressful two-hour period, and removed them to Bloemfontein Zoo. During the capture of the caracals, Beverley Pervan who runs the Centre with Mercer, begged the Nature Conservation officials to have some regard for the welfare of the animals and abandon the whole exercise. She then became so upset at the stress caused to her animals during capture that the Veterinary Surgeon had to comfort her.

Here are the terms of the settlement which was made an order of Court on Friday 15 December.

1. No order will be moved for in regard to the validity of the search warrant.

2. The department of Northern Cape Nature Conservation will return the three caracals into the care of the Kalahari Raptor Centre by not later than Tuesday the 19th December 2000.

3. The return of the three caracals from Bloemfontein to the Kalahari Raptor Centre will be carried out at the expense of the Northern Cape Nature Conservation department.

4. The caracals will remain at the KRC until either the outcome of a criminal prosecution against the KRC for keeping the caracal or the release of the caracal back into the wild whichever occurs first. The Northern Cape Nature Conservation department will be entitled to approve the release site but its approval shall not unreasonably be withheld.

5. The KRC agrees not to claim damages against the department in respect of the alleged unlawful seizure of the caracals.

6. Each party will bear its own costs

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