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Game ranching in South Africa: biodiversity conservation or agriculture?




Reilly, Brian, speaker
van Hoven, Wouter, moderator
International Wildlife Ranching Symposium, producer

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South Africa is unique in having created an extensive game ranching industry across a wide range of indigenous ungulates to pachyderms and even large predators. From small beginnings by a handful of private landowners and forward thinking conservationists this industry now encompasses approximately 17% of the countries land surface area and herds may number as many as 20 million ungulates. The industry has an annual turnover exceeding a billion USD and is a significant contributor to the burgeoning green economy that includes ecotourism, hunting and many allied industries such as fencing, infrastructure and equipment as well as a host of consultants and practitioners from veterinarians, translocators, ecologists and other professionals. The industry has contributed significantly to the conservation of a number of species such as white rhino, black wildebeest, sable and roan antelope and a number of meta-populations are now biased towards private land more than in official protected areas. The industry has now reached a crossroads in terms of its divergence into more specialized intensive breeding of species for specific traits such as trophy size and colour variation and a departure in many instances from the official conservation objectives of the country. This paper will discuss the current status and position of the industry in relation to the official conservation stance and unbundle the contributory factors to the threatening conflict between the conservation fraternity and game ranching industry. The paper will further propose potential ways forward in dealing with this unique state of affairs in South Africa considering that communal lands and many commercial farmers consider wildlife a viable option for the future.


Moderator: Wouter van Hoven.
Presented at the 8th international congress for wildlife and livelihoods on private and communal lands: livestock, tourism, and spirit, that was held on September 7-12, 2014 in Estes Park, Colorado.

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Wildlife management -- Congresses
Range management -- Congresses


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