Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal - A former professional hunter has been fined an effective R50 000 or three years in prison for hunting and keeping protected game, including a lioness and Nile crocodiles, without a permit.
Gerald Conway, 39, was also sentenced in the Pietermaritzburg Regional Court to a fine of R65 000 or two years and nine months in prison, wholly suspended for five years.
The Vryheid agricultural and mining supplies salesman entered into a plea agreement with the State, in which he pleaded guilty to nine charges involving the importation of specially protected game into KwaZulu-Natal for the purpose of hunting.
The father of three young children said he had not totally disregarded the regulations controlling the game industry, and that he had in his career obtained numerous permits.
Conway said that as a direct result of his frustration in obtaining of licences and permits, he tried to take short cuts which had since cost him dearly.
He has also been declared unfit to obtain hunting permits in the future.
Conway pleaded guilty to:
* Importing 10 blue duiker without permits from the Eastern Cape into KZN in April 2005.
* Keeping the duiker in captivity near Vryheid without permits between April and July 2005.
* Hunting one of the duiker in July 2005 without a licence or permit.
* Importing one lioness from the Free State into KZN without a permit in June 2005, and hunting it, also without a permit.
* Importing two Nile crocodiles from Gauteng into KZN in June 2007, keeping them in captivity in Vryheid; and hunting and killing one of them, all without a valid permit.
* Handling a dead leopard which he knew was killed without a permit in December 2007.
Conway declined to speak to the media. - Daily News