Cawston Game Ranch, Zimbabwe: facts and figures

Booth, Vernon R., author
International Wildlife Ranching Symposium, publisher
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Cawston Game Ranch, located in Matabeleland Province in Zimbabwe, has operated as a trophy hunting destination since its inception in 1987. The ranch is situated in a semi-arid region with limited arable soils and subject to high rainfall variability. The ranch is surrounded by resettlement and subsistence farmers and their families. Vegetation is dominated by Colophospermum mopane – Acacia species on basalt soils. There are no perennial river systems requiring the maintenance of an extensive artificial game water supply system strategically located across the ranch. The 128 km2 property is surrounded by a 2.4 m high, 13 strand game fence. A mixture of grazers and mixed feeders make up the 17 species of ungulates with large predators limited to leopard and brown hyena. There are no buffalo, lion or elephant. Approximately 9,000 animals have been harvested over a 20-yearperiod. Rifle and bow trophy hunting and cropping are main source of revenue together with irregular live sales of impala, giraffe, sable, wildebeest, kudu and warthog. The founder populations have been monitored annually using robust road strip count surveys since 1997. These data have been analysed using the programme DISTANCE (Buckland, S.T., Anderson, D.R. Burnham, K.P. and Laake, J.L. 1993) to monitor changes in population estimates. A relationship using an abundance index for different species to estimate population numbers has been developed that provides game ranch managers with a simple tool to track population changes and hence establish sustainable quota offtakes without necessarily having to use complex and expensive survey techniques.
Presented at the 9th international wildlife ranching symposium: wildlife - the key to prosperity for rural communities, held on 12-16 September 2016 at Hotel Safari & the Safari Court, Windhoek, Namibia.
Data compiled by Vernon R. Booth on behalf of Peter Johnstone and Juliet Johnstone.
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