No drones allowed in Addo elephant park

2018-03-08 06:00

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Flying a drone in the Addo Elephant National Park is illegal and can get you arrested on the spot and have your equipment confiscated.

In fact, South African National Parks (SANParks) made it clear that flying of drones, or any other unmanned aerial vehicle, is not permitted in any of the National Parks.

Fayroush Ludick, Regional Communications Manager of SANParks Frontier Region (Addo Elephant, Camdeboo, Karoo & Mountain Zebra National Parks) said, “Unfortunately drones will be a challenge throughout SANParks as long as they are readily available on the market.”

“Park staff issue stiff fines if perpetrators are caught. We also have the option of confiscating a drone if we suspect a crime was committed. To date fines in the region of R2 500 have been issued,” said Ludick.

National Parks are legislated protected areas with restricted airspace, therefore it is a no-fly zone for all unauthorized aircraft systems.

According to SANParks, drone flying is prohibited in terms of the National Environmental Management Protected Areas Act (NEMA) which states that, “It is illegal to fly below 2 500 feet above the highest point of any national park, with any aircraft/drone without the express permission of the management authority of the particular National Park.”

This means that Addo Elephant National Park is also a no-fly zone for all unauthorised aircraft and drones.

Flying such aircraft illegally in the park disturbs and negatively impacts on the well-being of animals as well as the experience of other park visitors.

“We simply have to enforce the Protected Areas Act and have adopted a zero tolerance attitude towards those using drones in a National Park.

“We urge law-abiding Park visitors to report anyone making use of a drone in Addo Elephant National Park. Report it to reception or to security at either of our gates.

“It is important to identify where the drone is coming from - possibly see the car it is being deployed from and take down the registration number. We will in turn stop offenders upon exiting the park. Guests witnessing drones in the Park must please also be prepared to give a sworn statement.”

The “no drone zone” information is stated on entering the park and printed at the back of the visitor’s map, which is issued to each vehicle upon entry.

“So, ignorance is not an excuse in the eyes of the law. The average fine for using a drone or unmanned aircraft inside a National Park is R2 500 and possible confiscation of the equipment,” said Ludick.

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