How can I get a tortoise permit in South Africa?

SoupCookie

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Hello :)

I have a baby padloper tortoise, and currently I'm living in South Africa. It turns out that it is illegal to keep tortoises as pets in SA (and most people who own them doesn't even know!). Google isn't really helping much, maybe I'm just searching with the wrong terms or something... But how does one get a permit to own a tortoise? And what are the potential risks involved with getting one? (Risks meaning costs, or anything actually!)

Also, if I get a permit for owning tortoises, would I be allowed to bring them with me if I move out of the country? (of course, a country that will accept importing of a tortoise)
 

TheLastGreen

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Hallo @SoupCookie, I hope you are well.
Just saw your post now. Sadly it highly depends. If you are in WC you can apply at Western Cape Nature Conservation for a permit. As for the rest of SA, dit is 'n nagmerrie. Currently they can seize your tort if you apply and they can come for inspection. In Gauteng there is exeption apparently for leopard torts and Kwazulu Natal, but that isn't true.
Currently you can't even apply at a zoo for a tort or a permit even. With the chance they can come and inspect and confiscate.
So far my experience has been that you can go to vets, they don't ask for paperwork (atleast in Gauteng). I would say keep your head down and don't worry about paperwork.
How's it going with your padloper?
 

TheLastGreen

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There are also exeptions where after 5 years of owning a tort it becomes legal.
I'm not sure on importing/exporting, perhaps if you apply for CITES documents, you can, but I'm not sure
 

TheLastGreen

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The fine for owning or selling torts is R12 000 or around $800, sad that they are so strict, it also makes conservation a lot more difficult
 

SoupCookie

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Hallo @SoupCookie, I hope you are well.
Just saw your post now. Sadly it highly depends. If you are in WC you can apply at Western Cape Nature Conservation for a permit. As for the rest of SA, dit is 'n nagmerrie. Currently they can seize your tort if you apply and they can come for inspection. In Gauteng there is exeption apparently for leopard torts and Kwazulu Natal, but that isn't true.
Currently you can't even apply at a zoo for a tort or a permit even. With the chance they can come and inspect and confiscate.
So far my experience has been that you can go to vets, they don't ask for paperwork (atleast in Gauteng). I would say keep your head down and don't worry about paperwork.
How's it going with your padloper?
Seize my tort?? No thank you, I'd rather not take the risk...
What if I go for a tortoise permit, but hide my tortoise at a friends house until I can get it, and then just say I don't own one, but would like to?

Yeah, same here, vets do not seem to care for paperwork, which is a big relief, since I had to take the tort there once because something got stuck in it's eye while staying outside (before we got an enclosure/adopted the tort)

Really good! It isn't a super picky eater, drinks water when thirsty, poop seems perfectly fine, overall, at least how I see it, the tort is as healthy (and hopefully as happy) as can be! It's also very comfortable around people, almost not shy at all anymore <3
 

SoupCookie

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There are also exeptions where after 5 years of owning a tort it becomes legal.
I'm not sure on importing/exporting, perhaps if you apply for CITES documents, you can, but I'm not sure
5 years? Well, then I guess I only have to wait 2 more! That's at least some very good news!
 

TheLastGreen

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Wonderful that your tort is doing good!
What if I go for a tortoise permit, but hide my tortoise at a friends house until I can get it, and
Extremely clever! You can do it, just make sure everything is perfect. If you live in WC you can contact cape nature, if you are in another province just let me know and I can pm you the details
 

TheLastGreen

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Some of the laws are... strange. Just be careful, they might be confused why you are spesificaly applying for a padloper permit, but you can just say you want to help with conservation
 

Lyn W

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I don't know about SA laws but there are strict laws worldwide about moving torts between countries. It would depend if the country you move to allows them or not.
There are members here who have moved but had to leave their torts behind and rehome them, because you can't just release them back into the wild after they have been kept as pets and expect them to survive.
So if you couldn't take him, maybe his new owner would have to be prepared to get a permit as well?
 

maggie3fan

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The fine for owning or selling torts is R12 000 or around $800, sad that they are so strict, it also makes conservation a lot more difficult
@TheLastGreen It seems to me you came here about 3 months ago and you have just settled in, give good advice on exotic tortoises...just fit right in...lol...I like it...and it seems for being a half a world away...you and I end up here at the same time...
 
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maggie3fan

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I live in the Pacific North West where it is illegal to keep Western Pond Turtles or Western Painted...they are native to the PNW and are threatened...but I know a bunch of keepers who keep these illegal turtles...and yet...I don't know of and have never heard of the turtle police arresting or confiscated any turtles or people...so just keep it quiet...
 

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