South Africa is home to many indigenous animals, including over 200 mammal species. South Africa is best known for the “Big Five”: elephant, lion, rhino, leopard and buffalo. South Africa is also home to cheetahs, hippos, giraffes, kudus, wildebeest and zebra. There are eight whale species in South African waters. The most commonly seen whale is the southern right whale. The great white shark is native to South Africa’s seas and the crocodile dwells in rivers, lakes and pools. Birdwatchers from around the world come to South Africa to experience the country’s great variety of typically African birds, migrants, and endemics.
South Africa is home to 20 national parks aimed at conservation of South Africa’s animals. The Kruger National Park is the most famous of them. South Africa’s Kruger National Park, Mozambique’s Limpopo Park and Zimbabwe’s Gonarezhou National Park have merged to create one of the biggest conservation areas in the world. The South African government continues to expand its conservation areas, on land and in the water.
The care of animals in South Africa is regulated by two Acts – namely the Animals Protection Act, 1962 (Act 71 of 1962) and the Performing Animals Protection Act, 1935 (Act 24 of 1935). The absence of regulations for these laws means that there is little protection for animals under the law. The Department of Agriculture is considering ways to improve legislation.
The large cities in South Africa have laws regulating maximum number of pets allowed per household. High housing prices have caused many people to move to smaller houses and apartments. Combined with the laws limiting pet ownership, this has caused the pet population in South Africa to diminish.
South African farmers are using Anatolian Shepherd Dogs to protect their livestock from cheetahs and other wild animals. Conservation efforts have made cheetahs more common along the border with Botswana. In order to prevent farmers from harming the cheetahs, a conservation group called Cheetah Outreach donates the dogs to farmers. The dogs protect the livestock and the wildlife can roam free.