CLASSIFICATION OF THE ROSE-RINGED PARAKEET (RINGNECK) AS AN INVASIVE SPECIES
In a previous article (read it here), I discussed certain things all owners of Ringneck Parakeets need to know. I also mentioned that the Biodiversity Act, 2004 (Act no. 10 of 2004, as amended) classifies Ringnecks as an invasive species. Through all the confusion and questions that announcement caused, there was one question that stood out above the rest: “What impact will this decision have on me as a breeder and owner of Ringnecks?”
HOW THIS WILL AFFECT YOU
Initially, Ringnecks were put on the category 1 of the Invasive species list. That meant the keeping, breeding and trading thereof were NOT allowed anymore. Thanks to the intervention of PASA (The Parrot Breeders Association of Southern Africa), who started negotiating with the DEA (Department of Environmental Affairs), the Ringnecks were moved to category 2.
Negotiations between PASA and DEA continued and the eventual outcome of PASA’s efforts was a positive one – the DEA granted the permit to PASA. And they will allow only PASA members to be exempted from the permit if certain conditions were met.
But what does all of this mean to me as a Ringneck Parakeet owner, you ask? This simply means that you are only allowed to keep, breed, trade and/or transport Ringnecks IF you have a valid permit in your possession.
So, let’s discuss how to go about getting that permit.
PROCEDURES TO GET A PERMIT
Both the DEA and PASA have application forms available for download on their websites.
Because the DEA granted the permit to PASA, and only PASA members will be exempted from the permit. Therefore it is very important that PASA ensures that all required conditions are met.
Our club is affiliated with PASA, so you are welcome to apply for membership. We will then assist you with this process. If you do not live in the vicinity of Port Elizabeth, take a look at the list of affiliated clubs on PASA’s website to find one closer to you.
The cost to join PASA through an affiliated club is R150.00 per year with a once off registration fee of R50.00.
To begin with, you need to contact us to arrange the necessary inspections of the premises where your Ringneck Parakeets are kept. On completion thereof, we will send the information through to the PASA offices. Thereafter a PASA membership number (if applicable) and a certificate will be sent to you.
However, should you prefer to not join an affiliated club, there is another option available to you – becoming an individual member of PASA. With this option you need to pay the once off registration fee of R50.00, as well as a R300.00 yearly fee directly to PASA (may be increased yearly).
»DEA PERMIT APPLICATION – RESTRICTED ACTIVITIES – ALIEN AND LISTED INVASIVE SPECIES
On the DEA’s webiste you can find a download link to the permit application form (available in pdf-format).
Open a new tab, then copy and paste this link in your browser’s address bar for a direct download from their website – https://www.environment.gov.za/sites/default/files/docs/forms/permitapplication_restrictedactivities_alienandlistedinvasivespecies.pdf.
The application form itself is straight-forward. It is divided into 9 main sections/parts that need to be completed:
A: You need to specify the type of permit you’re applying for
B: Your (the applicant’s) details
C: Information about the Specie(s) – Scientific name, Genus & Species, Common name, etc.
D: Details regarding the Exporting/Trading/Translocating and the Importing/Trading/Translocating
E: Info regarding possessing and breeding
F: Information regarding the restricted activities to be conducted
G: DEA’s payment information and stipulations
H: Details regarding the approved permit
I: Your declaration and signature (to be completed in the presence of a Commissioner of Oaths)
So, the next question to be answered is, “How long will I have to wait?” Page 1 of the above document stipulates:
“The application process may take up to 60 (sixty) working days or more; subject to the inclusion and submission of all the information required.”
IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER
To begin with, it is of the utmost importance that you, as a Ringneck owner, obtain this permit as soon as possible. Doing so will enable all Ringneck owners throughout South Africa to keep these beautiful Parakeets.
Furthermore, compliance to the permit conditions is just as crucial. Particularly since the DEA can revoke these permits at any time if proper control of Ringneck keeping and breeding is not implemented.
AND IF YOU DECIDE NOT TO REGISTER?
Ringnecks are beautiful birds – with their bright coloring and mutations they are truly stunning. Besides their appearance, they are interesting and clever birds. Compared to some of our indigenous species, they are unfortunately also very aggressive. Especially when it comes to food and available nesting places.
Subsequently, we do not want them to be the direct cause of the extinction of any of the wide variety of indigenous birds in South Africa!
For example, the out-of-control parakeet population the Hawaiian officials had to handle a few years ago. They had to deal with numerous complaints about the damage these birds caused to farmers and gardeners alike. Officials over there viewed the Ringneck as a “marauding, winged invader”. A flock of wild Ringnecks apparently stripped an entire tangarine tree in one day. One agricultural farmer lost 30% of his crop to these birds. (Read the full article here).
In summary, unless you adhere to the DEA’s requirements for keeping Ringneck Parakeets and obtaining a permit, you will become part of the reason for the confiscating and eradication of this beautiful species from our country as well.