SAHGCA Calls For Regulation Of Intensive Commercial Game Breeding Practices

AFRICAN INDABA

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The South African Hunters and Game Conservation Association (SAHGCA) wants government to implement mechanisms to regulate selective and intensive game breeding practices in the interest of protecting the country’s biodiversity and its international reputation as a leader in conservation.

Selective and intensive game breeding practices in the private game breeding sector are aimed at enhancing or altering genetic characteristics of game species for commercial purposes and include artificial and unnatural manipulation of wildlife to achieve unusual coat colors and excessive horn lengths. Although SAHGCA fully supports an extensive game farming sector and appreciates its contribution to the economy, the Association believes that certain uncontrolled practices might have detrimental effects on biodiversity and holds unwanted consequences for the wildlife industry as a whole. Dr Gerhard Verdoorn, President of SAHGCA, says the Association is very concerned about trends in the private game ranching sector where game breeders produce a growing assortment of unnatural color variations among indigenous game. “These practices of deliberately selecting and breeding animals for specific traits, similar to stock farming, to produce unusual coat colors or very large horn-lengths are not compatible with conservation principles.”

SAHGCA says this ongoing exploitation of indigenous wild animals will affect the integrity of South Africa’s wildlife and harm the country’s reputation as a leader in conservation. “We understand that the stakes in the game industry are high, but we have to be responsible in utilizing our wildlife heritage,” Verdoorn said. Variations in coat colors in game occur in low frequencies in the wild and are caused by recessive genes that result in e.g. black impala, golden wildebeest or white springbok. The reason for the low numbers in the wild is that these animals are usually not well adapted to their environment and are eliminated through natural selection processes. However, commercial game breeders selectively breed these animals to enhance and manipulate the desired traits for commercial gain. Prices of these purposely-bred animals are exceptionally high turning wildlife into a financial commodity. To protect their expensive investments, breeders put in these animals in small camps with very tight security. Some of the undesired consequences of intensive breeding include (i) fragmentation of habitats and wildlife systems; (ii) decrease in the genetic integrity of indigenous wildlife populations; (iii) reduce animals’ natural ability to adapt to environmental changes associated with climate change; (iv) Animal welfare concerns; (v) increased persecution of predators because of the threat to breeding stock; (vi) disinvestment in extensive wildlife areas which impact on the contribution that game farmers make to national conservation targets.

The demand for ordinary breeding stock for intensive breeding purposes leads to outrageous prices of huntable animals which in turn has a negative impact on the consumptive hunting sector. Animals bred under these conditions cannot be hunted because it would be tantamount to canned hunting – a reputational risk the hunting industry can ill afford. At a game auction on 13th February, ordinary impala ewes sold for R30 000 each. For hunting purposes an impala ewe would cost between R800 and R1000. “This drives the cost of hunting to unaffordable levels to the detriment of the hunting sector,” said Fred Camphor, CEO of SAHGCA. There are approximately 300,000 hunters in South Africa who contribute more than 74% of the total annual income derived from the hunting and wildlife sector. According to a recent study by the Northwest University hunting was responsible for R6.3 billion of the R8.5 billion that the wildlife and hunting sector contributed to the country’s economy in 2013.

Verdoorn said responsible wildlife utilization is the cornerstone for economic growth and sustainable development. In November 2014, SAHGCA adopted a policy position on intensive and selective breeding to enhance or alter genetic characteristics of indigenous game species for commercial purposes. The Association invited other hunting organizations and associations to adopt similar guidelines.

Sustainable Land Use Model: As part of its commitment to conservation and sustainable development, SAHGCA launched the Umfolozi Biodiversity Economy Initiative. It involves the establishment of a Biodiversity Economy node that will include Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park, eMakhosini-Ophathe Heritage Park, various stewardship sites and private and communal areas around Ulundi. Linking all these areas can create a protected area of approximately 150,000ha. This initiative forms part of an integrated land-use model that enables transformation and promotes economic growth in rural communities. The [initiative] is in line with [the] National Development Plan and will provide opportunities for partnerships among government, communities and the private sector to achieve national and provincial conservation targets [and] create business and development opportunities that will generate sustainable job opportunities, build capabilities and enhance the capacity of all sectors to address complex challenges of growing rural economies. Lizanne Nel, conservation manager at SAHGCA, says economic activities cannot be separated from its impact on the environment and people. “The Umfolozi Biodiversity Economy Initiative provides a sustainable economic development model for harnessing KwaZulu-Natal’s rich biodiversity and heritage capital to reduce poverty and inequality. At the same time it will provide an inclusive economy, protect landscapes, productive ecosystems and their associated products and services to society.”

Source: SA Hunters and Game Conservation Association (formatted for space reasons by AI editor)

Contacts: Gerhard Verdoorn nesher@tiscali.co.za; Fred Camphor fredc@sahunt.co.za and Lizanne Nel lizanne@sahunt.co.za
 

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PHASA rejects any notion or claim that the breeding of color variants or excessive horn lengths are necessary to fulfil a demand from trophy hunters or to replenish a depleted gene pool as a result of trophy hunting.

This position paper has been created in the light of the following developments in the South African wildlife industry (i) the significant increase in the intensive breeding of game; (ii) the significant increase in the breeding of color variants of species; (iii) the significant increase in the variety of color variants, some of which are largely unknown or have been uncommon in the past; (iv) a significant increase on the emphasis on horn size in intensive breeding operations and live game auction sales; (v) a significant increase in the price of both “common species” (e.g. nyala, wildebeest, blesbuck, impala etc.) and stud animals of “scarce species” (e.g. sable, roan, buffalo etc.).

Private Ownership Of Game And The Free Market System: PHASA respects the concept and the practice of private ownership and the free market system, believing these to have contributed significantly to South Africa’s conservation success and the establishment of its wildlife industry. PHASA, therefore, acknowledges the right of breeders to engage in activities that will result in higher returns on investments, provided that these activities are carried out legally, responsibly and sustainably. PHASA does not at this stage have an informed opinion on the long-term economic viability of the color variants and stud breeding markets.

Impact Of These Breeding Practices On Conservation: From a scientific and legislative perspective regarding these breeding practices, PHASA’s position is informed by the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) (see SANBI document), namely (i) “it is highly unlikely however, that animals selectively bred for the expression of a rare coat color would have any significant effect on a natural population should they escape, as the homozygous recessive genes would clearly have little effect in an overwhelmingly heterozygous population; (ii) …the Scientific Authority currently views this as a low risk threat to the species that are likely to be affected and therefore does not recommend that it be legislated against”.

That said, PHASA takes note of the following SANBI cautionary notes and recommendations (i) “Depending on the scale, such practices could be construed as a form of genetic manipulation.” (PHASA emphasis); (ii) “the breeding of genetically inferior recessive color morphs does not further the conservation of South Africa’s wild biodiversity…” (PHASA emphasis); (iii) “selectively breeding for rare color morphs should be discouraged or dis-incentivized as an undesirable practice…”

Concerns of These Practices from a Professional Hunting Perspective: PHASA notes increased concern among its members regarding the upward pressure on prices of common species and the potential negative effect it may have on the South African professional hunting industry. PHASA also notes increased concern among its members’ international clients that these color variants are seemingly being bred for the overseas market. PHASA is also aware of misperceptions and confusion among wildlife stakeholders that these animals are being hunted in intensive breeding systems/areas and that these breeding practices are aimed at increasing horn length specifically because trophy hunting depleted the gene pool. It is PHASA’s view that these breeding practices exist to satisfy demand from live game sales auctions and not trophy hunting. To say otherwise is both misinformed and damaging to the professional hunting industry.

PHASA Rejects the hunting of animals in any area other than an “extensive wildlife system” as defined in the Threatened and Protected Species (TOPS) Regulations issued in terms of Act 10 of 2004 [and] (i) any notion or claim that color variants are bred to satisfy a significant demand in the trophy hunting market; (ii) any notion or claim that breeding practice aimed at increasing horn size is necessary because trophy hunting depleted the gene pool; (iii) any notion or claim that the breeding of animals with abnormally large horn length lengths is driven by a significant demand in the trophy hunting market; (iv) highly controversial practices such as artificial insemination, cloning, genetic manipulation and any procedure that produces artificial color variants; (v) the inclusion of any further color variants in trophy hunting record books; (vi) any form of “catalogue marketing” of individual wild animals or groups of wild animals for hunting purposes.

Conclusion and Recommendations: PHASA respects the concept of private ownership and the free market system but urges breeders to approach such practices with the highest levels of due consideration for South Africa’s biodiversity. PHASA acknowledges that the impact of such breeding practices present a low risk to South Africa’s wild biodiversity but believes that potential risks need to be monitored and, if necessary, managed in a responsible manner and in consultation with fellow industry stakeholders. PHASA is committed to continued constructive dialogue with all industry stakeholders in respect of the matters contained in this position paper. As such, this position paper may be amended from time to time following such discussions. For questions concerning this position paper contact the PHASA CEO by email at ceo@phasa.co.za or call +27 12 667 2048.

Source: Professional Hunters Association of South Africa (formatted for space reasons by AI editor)
 

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South African Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) on Color Morphs

Editor’s Note (GRD): Below is the text of a letter written by Prof. John Donaldson, Chief Director Applied Biodiversity Research Division of SANBI addressed to Ms. Nosipho Ngcaba, Director-General, Department of Environmental Affairs. Please observe this letter is dated 10 September 2010.

The genes responsible for rare color morphs in a wide range of wildlife species are generally recessive in nature and are therefore very infrequently expressed in naturally occurring populations. Game breeders however select homozygous recessive individuals to breed from in order to ensure that the rare coat color is expressed in the offspring.

Due to the fact that the founder population is very small and often made up of closely related individuals, evidence of inbreeding depression is often seen within a few generations. Depending on the scale, such practices could be construed as a form of genetic manipulation.

The threat posed by the selective breeding of recessive color morphs will depend on the size and genetic make-up or diversity and viability of the population receiving these recessive color morphs. Relatively small receiving populations or threatened taxa could be more vulnerable than large or genetically more diverse populations. It is highly unlikely however that animals selectively bred for the expression of a rare coat color would have any significant effect on a natural population should they escape, as the homozygous recessive genes would clearly have little effect in an overwhelmingly heterozygous population. The only real threat may arise in a situation where there is a large scale “mixing” of recessive color morphs into a population of dominant color morphs, which in practice is highly unlikely to occur.

The breeding of genetically inferior recessive color morphs does not further the conservation of South Africa’s wild biodiversity and therefore cannot be supported.

However, the Scientific Authority currently views this as a low risk threat to the species that are likely to be affected and therefore does not recommend that it be legislated against. The Scientific Authority would however like to recommend the following:

  1. Selectively breeding for rare color morphs should be discouraged or dis-incentivized as an undesirable practice and game farmers who wish to manage their farms and animals using sound ecological principals should be incentivized.
  2. Conservation authorities should be aware of the potential threat that could result from this type of practice and the risk should be monitored and evaluated on a regular basis. Towards this end, the Scientific Authority recommends that:
  3. All breeders register with DEA.
  4. Breeders report annually on the number of animals leaving (i.e. being released from) their facilities each year, as well as the destination of the animals leaving.
  5. DEA report on the number of animals of each species’ recessive color morph being released in each province, relative to the total population of normal color animals in the province.
On this basis the Scientific Authority will be able to monitor the impact on wild populations and take relevant management actions before the practice becomes a real threat. The Scientific Authority, in conjunction with DEA, should decide on and agree to a threshold to initiate stricter regulation

  1. The general public should be properly educated in these matters, so that conservation funding is not misdirected to illegitimate conservation programs, such as the campaign to save the white lion from extinction as if it were a separate species.
 

AFRICAN INDABA

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Response From Wildlife Ranching SA President Dr Peter Oberem to SA Hunters

There has of late been a lot of noise in the press about certain wildlife ranching practices that are perceived by some as having a negative impact on conservation. This noise comes from individuals with strange self-aggrandizing motivation who are clearly ill-informed about the wildlife ranching industry in southern Africa.

WRSA will in order to avoid further mudslinging refrain from focusing on the few elements in the hunting fraternity who, through their bad behavior, give both hunting and game ranching a poor image. It is a pity that the individuals mentioned in paragraph 1, who are responsible for the unnecessary noise, do not show wildlife ranchers the same courtesy.

I will try to avoid using unscientific, emotional and meaningless words such as ‘intensive manipulation’; ‘artificial wildlife’; ‘aberrant-colored’ and ‘compromised animals’, as used in documentation and on the radio by the authors under discussion. I always say ‘the lion never worries about the yapping of the jackals at his heels when he has his eyes focused on his goal’ and I have always tried to live by that code. This time, however, due to the unprecedented, intensive, sustained attack on our industry by a few ill-informed individuals, I find it necessary to waste time and energy to respond.

First, there are a few basic perceptions that must be corrected: Wildlife ranching does not take place on formerly conserved land. In fact, by far the greatest majority of game ranches are on formerly marginal, often badly overgrazed, denuded and eroded agricultural land, which has been converted into an economically sustainable form of agriculture with huge conservation and biodiversity spin-offs.

On the great majority of game ranches, internal agricultural fences that were there at inception have been removed to provide as much space as possible for wildlife movement. On only a small percentage of farms has only a small portion of the whole farm been allocated for ‘small’ breeding camps, usually between 25ha and 100ha in size, leaving the remaining camp significantly larger than the camps that were initially there to fence and manage domestic stock and/or crops.

Today, there are approximately 20 million head of game in South Africa, with private wildlife ranchers conserving roughly three times as many animals as the State does in all its parks. There are more game animals today in South Africa than there have been in the country since 1850, or over the past 165 years.

Apart from the sheer number of game animals and apart from the massive area (20 million hectares) that has been converted from monocultures of domestic stock or crops, a number of game species have been saved from near extinction by private wildlife ranching, e.g. the rhino, sable antelope, roan antelope, black wildebeest, Lichtenstein’s hartebeest, the bontebok, Cape mountain zebra, cheetah, lion and even the African buffalo (buffalo in the Kruger National Park, our biggest publically owned herd, are infected with tuberculosis), to name a few. These have been saved from extinction, unlike the bluebuck and the quagga, which were hunted to extinction before the advent of private wildlife ranching. All this success hinges on private ownership of wildlife, which was introduced in South Africa as late as 1991. Nowhere in the rest of the world has such an amazing conservation turnaround taken place (because ownership is denied the citizens of the rest of the world). The dire conservation situation in Kenya, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Botswana – as well as most of the rest of the world, in fact – serves as clear proof of the huge benefits of our government’s sustainable utilization policy.

A very basic concept that seems to have eluded the detractors of wildlife ranching is that of ‘herd building’. They do not seem to understand that, in order to provide animals for conservation, hunting or meat, the rancher needs to build his herd. With so many new entrants to wildlife ranching, it is to be expected that demand would be high for some of the rare species and the rare colour morphs. Of course, as their numbers increase (which is something we all wish to see), the prices will adjust. All sensible investors understand this. But then, more of these rarer animals will become available at lower prices for hunting.

Dealing with specific statements made to the press about:

  1. The cost of animals for hunting (and thus for cheap meat!): there are today far more animals available for hunting than ever before. As far as the price of commonly hunted game is concerned, taking inflation into account, hunting prices are lower than they were in 1991. The complainants have never said a word in the press about the inflationary increase in their other hunting costs, such as vehicles, fuel, rifles, ammunition and their favorite tipple. It is strange how a price of R1 450 for a blesbuck or an impala is said to be out of reach of the local hunter. Pricing cycles are a fact of business life. There are, however, many more game ranches for hunting today than there were, say, five years ago – with many, many more animals available for hunting or meat.
  2. The unfounded, libelous accusations that wildlife ranchers are using growth promotants [sic]: the accusers must back this statement up with facts! I have never seen nor heard of this unethical practice (which is condemned by WRSA’s code of conduct) occurring on wildlife ranches. Making unfounded, broad possibility-statements is typical of this style of communication.
  3. Much of the vitriol in the campaign against wildlife ranching is aimed at (i) Breeding animals for longer horns. There are ranchers that do this, but they do it scientifically, using the most modern genetic monitoring tests, as part of a broader health and production selection process to rectify the negative selection against these traits by hunters of the past. The record African buffalo horn length today in SA would qualify only in position 18 in the Rowland Ward record books. Most of the records placed above it are from many, many years back, further strengthening this point [and] (ii) Breeding of color variants. Clearly, the authors of the campaign against wildlife ranching understand neither genetics, evolution nor the possible effects of climate change on the biomes found in South Africa (in particular when discussing the so-called ‘natural range’). This is too complex a matter to discuss in a short press release, but one merely needs to walk down the street and see the results (many, many natural color and other variations) in insects, birds, mammals, plants and even human populations around us. We value and praise these in many ways, viz. naming the beautiful color variants of our indigenous and other plants after our heroes and paying more for them. Similarly, thousands of tourists spend money, time and effort to flock to SA to see the Timbavati white lion, the king cheetah bred by the heroine Ann van Dyk, or the yellow crimson-breasted shrike at Nylsvley. Why, then, the exaggerated negativity about differently colored antelope?
The attack on this country’s wildlife ranchers – and thus one of its major unique agricultural activities, wildlife ranching – by a few ill-informed and angry individuals purporting to represent the hunters of South Africa – is born from some other yet-to-be-determined motivation. This spreading of disinformation must stop! One does not punch a hole in the life raft one shares with others.

Source: WRSA Press Release (formatted for space reasons by AI editor)

For more information, contact Dr Peter Oberem: peter.oberem@afrivet.co.za. Editor’s Note (GRD): It is recommended that you also read the latest Wildlife Ranching Magazine (Issue 1, 2015) – almost 300 pages of material to choose from. Download the magazine HERE.
 

Philip Glass

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This is a tricky issue with many sides to it. Simple fact is that the only reason you can hunt anything in RSA is because of private ownership of wildlife. Just like here in Texas you can hunt many of the same animals and it is simply due to freedom. Freedom to do with the animals as you wish. I am not sure how the proponents of regulations propose to write them but I can assure you that it will open them up to arduous government regulations. Here is the bottom line folks and that is that when people make more money on a new project others are jealous.
We can either hang together in the hunting business or we can hang separately!
Regards,
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I think you got it exactly right Philip.
 

AFRICAN INDABA

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Stewart Dorrington On Hunting And Game Breeding

Editor’s Note: In the last issue of African Indaba we published several articles on the debate on hunting and game breeding in South Africa. We have now received a letter from Stewart Dorrington, a highly experienced South African professional hunter and outfitter and past president of the Professional Hunters’ Association of South Africa (PHASA). With permission of Stewart, we share this letter with our readers:

For hunting to have a future in the world, it is imperative that hunting is supported by a sound conservation ethic. If hunting does not contribute to conservation, the public will eventually close all hunting down. The animal rights groups are attempting this with growing success. They have just succeeded in persuading Australia to ban the import of any lion trophies and products from SA as they public want canned lion hunting shut down!! They are now moving their campaign to Europe and then the USA.

If we can demonstrate publicly that hunting contributes greatly to conservation, then it is unlikely that the animal rights groups will be able to persuade the public to support the closure of hunting. At this moment in time, all hunting associations in South Africa and around the world should be making a concerted attempt and investment in getting that message to the public.

Taking it further, without a hunting community, there will not be a game ranching community. Hunters are the consumptive end user of the game that is produced by game farmers. Venison, skin and horns are other lesser earners. Hunters pay for conservation on private land.

Hunting also benefits provincial and national parks. Even if these parks do not hunt, they sell excess game which is bought by game ranchers and the final consumptive end user is the hunter. So hunters indirectly benefit all national and provincial parks that sell live game!!

Thus it is vital to the game ranching industry that they look after the hunter first and foremost. If there are no hunters, only the game farms where tourism is sustainable will survive, and there are maybe only a couple of them that are profitable and sustainable on tourism alone! The hunters are the cornerstone of private conservation in South Africa; they are the foundation of the wildlife industry. It would be good for the wildlife industry to listen to the voice of hunters as there is growing anxiety amongst hunters as to the direction the game farming industry is moving.

Currently, there is a growing perception amongst hunters in SA and around the world, that hunting in SA is becoming tame. Many animals offered to hunters are viewed as “farmed” animals. The majority of hunters do not want such hunting. As a hunting outfitter who markets abroad, it is becoming harder and harder to sell SA hunting. The canned lion industry has done enormous damage to the image of hunting in SA, but our image is being further damaged by the proliferation of intensive game farming and color variants and the perception that this creates. I am neither a scientist nor a geneticist, but I am both a game farmer and a hunting outfitter and I notice the perception of hunters both in SA and abroad.

My greatest concern comes in with the various color variants and the continued attempts by ranchers to line breed any color aberrations. There is a very limited demand for these animals for hunting. In fact, most hunters I speak to despise them! However, if hunters voice their opinion and speak out about their dislike of such color variants, the game ranching industry lashes out at them and attempts to ridicule them … even though they represent the consumers of the game ranchers’ product!

Not only are the majority of these color variants not wanted by hunters, they contribute further to the negative perception that all hunting in SA is canned or farmed, and thus continue to erode the international marketability and credibility of safari hunting in SA. Many hunters, outfitters and conservationists who share my concerns don`t speak out for fear of causing conflict. The game farming industry should do a survey of the hunting outfitters (over 100 of them) who marketed in the USA this year and garner some honest feedback about the demand for the products they are now producing as fast as they can. If the hunter is not the end user, who is? When new entrants stop entering the color variant market the industry will collapse. It’s not sustainable.

Once again, if hunting doesn`t support a good conservation ethic it has no future. Without hunters there will be no healthy game farming industry. In my opinion the game ranching industry is building its massive house on sand and one day it will collapse, ruining many ignorant investors who have put their pensions and life savings into worthless freaks of nature.
 

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Just another Ponsi scheme to make money. The colour variants contribute nothing to the hunting industry except controversial issues. These freaks do not survive in the wild for long. If auction prices are anything to go by the cracks are starting to show and many people stand to loose a fortune others their entire lives.
 

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Agree with Hunthard on this one - being raised from a young age in SA with hunting as a regular activity it would be expected to see an increase in the cost of hunting (I remember my dad statement about an impala costing R350 , although I canot repeat it here ;)) , especially with international interest and what has become a true industry BUT the "color" issue is slowly going to strangle the industry - the local "meat hunters" will be the first to fall simply as what was traditionally the staple for the table (Female animals) are now up to 10 times the cost of male (Impala ewe's in SA Rands 5000 compared to rams at R1500 (Non-tropy being sub 24 inch) , Bluewildebeest bulls between R2600 & R3200 , cows R25 000 - This is based on real , local pricing and obviously based on self catering so not what an international hunter would expect or get but stated as illustration (And based on this years pricing). WHY? Well the female animal now has HUGE value for breeding of variants and as such attaining HUGE prices at auctions ......sad , simply as I do not see myself taking a variant before I have the "real deal" against my tropy wall and some variants , in my opinion, are just FUGLY - Ever seen a white Impala :eek:

It will play out over time but what damage will be done by then is not measureable - The only rule in Africa is: If it pays it stays , so as long as there is money in it , it will continue - the only hope is for the few that still operate normally and those of us that have no real desire to hunt a pink springbok .....or whatever it will be called once the pigment has been perfected.
 

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I have a question. Do these color morph antelope suffer from any health problems or defects?
 

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Ok my 2cents.
Government intervention is an extremely bad idea, and I firmly believe that it will have dire consequences to the entire game industry in South Africa.

With that said it is time for game breeders to wake up, from they're little dream world....
At the current growth rate of intensive breeding operations and the route that breeders are following their actions will and have already had a devastating effect on our biodiversity....

Here's why, and I understand we have fences in SA but one can hardly use the presence of a perimeter fence around a 2500 acre property as motivation to cut such a property into 25, 100 acre blocks... Really? This excuse have been used by prominent breeders who believe that we in the hunting industry are idiots....

Manicured "camps" have a negative impact on all other mammals (to only mention them for now) due to their displacement to make way for premadonna species such as Zambian Sable (which aren't indigenous to SA to begin with) East African Buffalo, black impala, painted Blesbuck, and Golden Gnu all in the name of conservation.....

Conservation lesson 101, conserving a species or selected species to the detriment of other species occurring in the same area is not conservation to not even mention non indigenous game or genetics to the detriment of indigenous species.... Leopard, brown hyena, jackal, serval, genet, pangolin, bushpig, warthog, aardwolf, bat eared foxes are being displaced, living functional flora ecosystems are being destroyed (point in case Waterberg biosphere which is UNESCO protected as an indigenous forest) are being turn into grasslands to increase LSU's (large stock units). It's about money admit it and there is no regard for nature and all it's complexities.

A well known breeder stated recently that they are breeding for the hunting market, To him I say you are a plain faced liar.... Prove to me the number of golden wildebeest and black impala hunted every year?
I in turn will share the number of enquiries I have had for COLOR variants over the last 15 years (none)

Our image has been damaged irreparably abroad because of the statements made by breeders, and we (as South African hunting market) has become a less desireable destination for this very reason.

Currently the market is expanding at such a rate that regular genetically sound herds are captured off large properties and tossed into this mix, thereby weakening/diluting our naturally occurring population's genes with these recessive color variants, keep in mind we are unaware of what future complications might arise because of this....

A breeder at a local get together also stated with conviction I quote " I tell you if you are fighting the color variant breeding.... Ladies and gentleman you are fighting evolution!!!"
A bunch of zombies applauded him due to their limited brain function!

I say who are you to meddle with evolution which is something we know very little about......

Something needs to be done, this country is fast approaching the point of losing it's local hunters, if we lose our local hunters kids will stop hunting and we will lose our hunting heritage......

The key to the future of SA hunting is quite simple in my opinion, it is not more intensive, but rather based on models such as the Balule and Klaserie reserves.
Where land owners get together to create an extensive ecosystem and one or two operators run safaris on it.

These two industries will have to part ways and we as hunters will have to pick on which side of the fence we would prefer to be on, the two simply cannot function in harmony if this is the way it's going to be.

My best always
 

Philip Glass

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We have the exact same problem in Texas with the white tailed deer. There are lots of northern deer genetics used to get larger antlers. These northern genetics will all die out if the feeders are turned off and they have to survive as nature intended. Not a good long term plan. But we live and die in Texas by our private property rights. The guy next door can do as he wishes and it's none of my business. The issues raised here in RSA are very similar to what I have mentioned in Texas. What you all need to know is most of the attacks on the aforementioned farming practices come from within the industry!
Would you guys rather have a few black impala or no game and just livestock? This is the choice.
Regards,
Philip
 

TokkieM

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Philip beside everything else involved and without bringing that into the argument here is my answer. I would not have the Black Impala, it adds no value to me as a hunter as they are way too expensive to hunt anyway.
 

Royal27

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With that said it is time for game breeders to wake up, from they're little dream world....

This will happen a few days after the inevitable market crash... GREED!!!!
 

Ragman

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My opinion on this matter as a greenhorn of one safari probably doesn't carry much weight, but I can tell how much the colour variants appeal to me. Absolutely zero. As a person who has dreamed of African wildlife since the age of 4, and that's 42 years now, I imagine the real thing as nature made them. When I'm blessed enough to return to Africa, I want to feel that I am hunting an animal that has not been genetically manipulated by man. Black, white and copper springboks? Can't hold a candle to the beauty of their common brothers. Same with black impala. White blesbok? Ugly as sin. Golden gnu and white lions? Ridiculous. Even if I could afford them, I wouldn't dream of paying more money for the coloured varieties over the natural.

My first safari took place in the Omaruru area of Namibia and I absolutely loved it. I would gladly return to the same place again to hunt. But I am also fascinated by South Africa and the incredible diversity of topography it offers. I admit the high fences give me a strange feeling, but I do know that the area they contain are so huge, the wildlife on them are just that...wild. And then along comes a colour variant and spoils the image.

However I know I will hunt RSA in the near future, as I badly want a bushbuck. All I have to do now is try to pick an outfitter. That will be no easy task as all of them here on AH look so good!!!
 

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