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We address the new attempts at regulating wildlife ranches on private land in South Africa. Although positive conservation impacts can be attributed to private wildlife ranching, there are a number of ecological consequences that often arise as a result of economic priorities. We present and analyze new national regulations aimed at coordinating provincial legislation and guiding the wildlife industry in a more conservationist direction, and examine tensions that have arisen between different sociopolitical scales as a result. Data were obtained through a desk-based study of legal documents and interviews with key stakeholders. The new regulations begin to address international obligations and national policy on biodiversity conservation by potentially combating a number of specific ecological problems associated with wildlife ranching. However, in practice, the regulations are a significant source of tension among stakeholders and will be challenging to implement. A key issue is competing agendas between incentive-driven ranchers and conservationist aims. It may be that in addressing the ecological problems at the margin, the new regulations will encourage some ranchers to convert their land away from conservation friendly land use.
Copyright © 1969 by the author(s). Published here under license by the Resilience Alliance.
Cousins, J. A., J. P. Sadler, and J. Evans. 2010. The challenge of regulating private wildlife ranches for
conservation in South Africa. Ecology and Society XX(YY): ZZ. [online] URL: http://www.
The Challenge of Regulating Private Wildlife Ranches for Conservation
in South Africa
Jenny A. Cousins
, Jon P. Sadler
, and James Evans
ABSTRACT. We address the new attempts at regulating wildlife ranches on private land in South Africa.
Although positive conservation impacts can be attributed to private wildlife ranching, there are a number
of ecological consequences that often arise as a result of economic priorities. We present and analyze new
national regulations aimed at coordinating provincial legislation and guiding the wildlife industry in a more
conservationist direction, and examine tensions that have arisen between different sociopolitical scales as
a result. Data were obtained through a desk-based study of legal documents and interviews with key
stakeholders. The new regulations begin to address international obligations and national policy on
biodiversity conservation by potentially combating a number of specific ecological problems associated
with wildlife ranching. However, in practice, the regulations are a significant source of tension among
stakeholders and will be challenging to implement. A key issue is competing agendas between incentive-
driven ranchers and conservationist aims. It may be that in addressing the ecological problems at the margin,
the new regulations will encourage some ranchers to convert their land away from conservation friendly
land use.
Key Words: conservation regulation; private wildlife ranches; South Africa; stakeholder views
Here, we address new attempts in South Africa to
regulate wildlife ranches on private land. This is a
major enterprise with more than 10,000 wildlife
ranches and some 4,000 mixed wildlife/livestock
enterprises (Hearne and McKenzie 2000, Bothma
2002, Amalgamated Banks of South Africa 2003,
Bothma et al. 2009). Private landholders have
played an important role in national conservation
efforts (Child 2009) in a country that, according to
Bothma et al. (2009), is “the scene of one of the
greatest reversals of fortune ever seen in wildlife
conservation.” In South Africa in the 19
wildlife was devastated by early European settlers
(MacKenzie 1988, Adams and McShane 1996,
Neumann 1996, Adams and Mulligan 2003, King
2007, Carruthers 2008). In the 20
century, wildlife
was exterminated to make way for livestock at a
time when wildlife was perceived to conflict with
livestock (Carruthers 2008, Bothma et al. 2009). By
1950, wildlife had been severely decimated outside
of South Africa’s national parks (Bothma et al.
2009). Since this time, wildlife on private land has
shown considerable growth, and it has been
estimated that wildlife utilization enterprises now
cover some 16.8% of South Africa, compared with
provincial and national protected areas that cover
roughly 6.1% (Bothma and Von Bach 2009, as cited
in Bothma et al. 2009). Managing state areas
designated for biodiversity conservation is
expensive, and securing long-term funding to
maintain conservation initiatives is a challenging
issue (Harris 2004) as budgets for park management
diminish in many provinces because of constant
pressure from other political priorities (Botha 2001,
Krug 2002, Scriven and Eloff 2003, Leader
Williams et al. 2005). As such, responsibility for
conservation in South Africa is increasingly
becoming a private land issue (Botha 2001, Krug
2002, Scriven and Eloff 2003).
Although positive conservation impacts such as
maintaining “natural” or semi-natural habitat and
providing resources and land for species
introduction programs are attributed to private
wildlife ranches, there are a number of practices
within the ranching industry today that conflict with
School of Environment and Development, University of Manchester,
School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Manchester
Ecology and Society (): r
conservation principles, including: (1) deliberate
cross-breeding or hybridization of different species
and subspecies, (2) deliberate breeding of recessive
colour variations in game, (3) selective breeding of
animals for trophy hunting, (4) unscientific
intensive captive breeding programs that can lead
to inbreeding of rare game species and when
released into extensive systems can cause genetic
pollution of wild populations, extinction of
subspecies, and the spread of disease and parasites,
(4) introduction of extralimital species that can lead
to hybridization, degradation of habitat, low
survival rates of some introduced species, and
displacement of indigenous species, (5) introduction
of invasive alien species, (6) conversion of veld
through burning and cutting, and (7) predator
persecution, to protect game (Green and Rothstein
1998, Bigalke 2000, Castley et al. 2001, Smith and
Wilson 2002, Hall-Martin and Castley 2003, Boone
and Hobbs 2004, Hamman et al. 2005, Lindsey et
al. 2005, Steenkamp et al. 2005, Langholz and
Kerley 2006, Lindsey et al. 2006, Cousins et al.
2008, Child 2009). The legal requirement for
wildlife utilization systems to be surrounded by
game fencing has led to fragmented landscapes,
causing genetic isolation of species and the
disruption of migratory routes. These problems are
in addition to overstocking and land degradation
(Bothma et al. 2009, Lindsey et al. 2009).
Furthermore, many ranches are too small to contain
genetically healthy predator populations.
Such practices, often driven by financial gain,
appear to make little contribution to biodiversity
conservation, and could result in the significant
depletion of the genetic integrity and diversity of
natural populations (Department of Environmental
Affairs and Tourism 2005). In addition, the breeding
and reintroduction of species is often limited to a
small variety of popular species (Cousins et al.
2008) and stocking large numbers, or even just the
presence, of species such as lion (Panthera leo) and
elephant (Loxodonta africana) can have a
detrimental effect on biodiversity. Other reported
problems within the industry include: (1) hunting,
contravening the humane treatment of animals and/
or the principles of fair-chase such as hunting with
dogs, the use of traps, the use of poison, bow
hunting, “green” hunting, and “canned” hunting,
and (2) the hunting of “damage-causing”
individuals (Department of Environmental Affairs
and Tourism 2005). In a recent study of stakeholder
perspectives, fundamental limitations identified by
respondents included bias toward business
objectives over conservation, a lack of scientific
management of ranches, and an inadequate
knowledge of conservation ecology (Cousins et al.
2008). Indeed, ranches are businesses first and
foremost, competing to attract customers. The
differences in legislation and regulations between
the provinces is also problematic (Bothma et al.
2009), resulting in a complex and fragmented
system that is largely outdated, inconsistent, and
lacking national norms and standards (Bürgener at
al. 2001, Wynberg 2002, Bürgener et al. 2005).
There are inconsistencies between provincial
permit-award procedures, the conservation status of
many indigenous species, and the extent to which
extralimital translocation can occur. Furthermore,
this system does not provide a structure to monitor
wildlife at a national level (Bürgener et al. 2001).
In addition to these problems, the level of
transformation within the hunting community for
previously disadvantaged individuals is reported to
be extremely low (Department of Environmental
Affairs and Tourism 2005).
In a bid to “scale up” the management of the wildlife
industry, which is an industry that has rapidly
expanded and developed in a rather piecemeal or
organic fashion ahead of regulation, new national
regulations have been developed with the aim of
coordinating provincial legislation and guiding the
industry in a more conservationist direction. We
chart the development of these regulations, present
and analyze their significance for conservation, and
examine the tensions that have arisen among
different sociopolitical scales as a result. We
conclude by considering the major strengths and
weaknesses of the regulations and their suitability
as an approach to conservation. There are two main
forms of private wildlife production systems:
extensive and intensive. We focus largely on the
extensive system, that is, the managed extensive
production of free-living animals on large, primarily
fenced areas of private or communal land, usually
for the purposes of hunting, live-game sales, trophy
hunting, wildlife meat, or tourism (Bothma 2002).
Private Wildlife Ranching: Historical
Current approaches to the regulation of wildlife
ranching in Africa are perhaps best contextualized
through the lens of history (Jones 2006). Much of
the recent literature on the history of conservation
and wildlife ranching in South Africa is provided in
Ecology and Society (): r
reviews by Child (2009), Bothma et al. (2009), and
a detailed paper by Carruthers (2008). According to
Bothma et al. (2009), much of the initial stimulus
for wildlife ranching reflected the personal desires
of landowners and investors to provide a “retreat”
for personal enjoyment; however, over time,
motivations have diversified and include
conservation, profit, and the sustainability of
wildlife production compared with conventional
agriculture. Many of the factors that have made the
establishment of private wildlife utilization
enterprises attractive have their roots in political and
legal developments (Bothma et al. 2009), including:
(1) the decline in agricultural subsidies and
deregulation of the agricultural sector, (2) the Game
Theft Act of 1991 which combated theft and illegal
hunting and capture, and gave rights of ownership
of wildlife on suitable fenced land, and (3) changes
to the Shareblock Act, legislation regarding
conservancies, biospheres, and other protected
areas, and new labour laws have all encouraged the
transformation from conventional agriculture to
wildlife utilization (Carruthers 2008, Bothma et al
2009). Other important factors include: (1)
changing views on the need to separate wild animals
and domestic stock, (2) changing ideas around
nature and environmental conservation, wildlife
management, and sustainable development, (3) the
sharing of expertise among wildlife managers in
state protected areas and on private farmland, and
(4) the need for increased levels of protein
production for a growing human population
(Carruthers 2008). A further incentive has been the
growth in international wildlife tourism (Bothma et
al 2009).
In certain environments, wildlife ranching has an
economic comparative advantage and “astute policy
that devolves rights to landholders and that
encourages value-adding uses of wildlife, including
trade, is necessary to translate this theoretical
advantage into wildlife conservation and economic
growth” (Child 2009). In recent years, there has
been increasing interest in market-based approaches
to conservation, the rationale being that creating
incentives for landowners and managers causes
them to behave in a way that sustains environmental
functions. The success of conservation on these
lands is based on the price–proprietorship–
subsidiarity hypothesis (Child 2003, 2005) that
says: (1) if wildlife is valuable, (2) if this value is
captured by landholders, and (3) if rights to manage
wildlife are organized at a local level, then
renewable resources are likely to be husbanded
better and ultimately conserved. This hypothesis
lies at the heart of the paradigm of sustainable use
and provides a useful theoretical backdrop with
which to analyze the new regulations.
There are two stages to the research design: (1) a
desk-based study of legal documents, and (2)
interviews with stakeholders involved in wildlife
ranching and conservation. The desk-based study
made use of the Department of Environmental
Affairs’ website where legal documents, reports,
and forthcoming regulations can be found. The
second stage of the research design involved a
qualitative approach to access the knowledge and
opinions of those involved in the development and
implementation of national legislation, those
directly affected by the legislation, and those
involved in encouraging conservation of private
wildlife ranches. Semistructured interviews (Dunn
2005, Fontana and Frey 2005, Longhurst 2005,
Marshall and Rossman 1995) were conducted with
key actors involved in: (1) national and provincial
governments, (2) conservation NGOs, and (3) the
wildlife-ranching industry. Research was carried
out between autumn 2006 and winter 2007,
including a total of 4.5 months in South Africa. A
number of interviews were conducted via telephone
and email.
Actors include key representatives from the
Department of Environmental Affairs’ Biodiversity
and Conservation branch, the provincial governmental
departments dealing with nature conservation, the
South African National Biodiversity Institute
(SANBI), the game-ranching industry, nongovernmental
South African conservation organizations, and
stewardship programs. There were 41 respondents
in total. Of these, nine were from within the
government, 14 from conservation NGOs, and 18
within the wildlife-ranching industry. A number of
persons within the provincial government
departments did not wish to participate, largely
because of feelings of not knowing enough about
private ranching and conservation. Nonetheless, the
sample captures a representative reflection of
opinions from those involved in conservation and
wildlife ranching in South Africa today. All
interview data were transcribed and coded to
identify key themes relating to the research area
(Strauss and Corbin 1990, Cope 2005). We make
use of selected anonymous excerpts from the
Ecology and Society (): r
A combination of factors provided the impetus for
the development of new national regulations. These
included negative media reports on practices that
were threatening the hunting industry’s international
reputation such as canned hunting, and the
widespread perception that the industry was not
adequately regulated and should be brought in line
with South Africa’s national and international
obligations to conserve biodiversity (Department of
Environmental Affairs and Tourism 2005). One
such obligation is the White Paper on the
Conservation and Sustainable Use of South Africa’s
Biological Diversity (Department of Environmental
Affairs and Tourism 1997), the country’s principal
policy document on the use and conservation of
biodiversity, following the themes of the
Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD)
(Wynberg 2002). The White Paper sets the stage for
key pieces of legislation such as the Biodiversity
Act, providing the legal basis for biodiversity
management and allowing for the listing of
protected, endangered, alien, and invasive species,
and the setting of regulations with regard to listed
species. Until recently, there was little development
of these regulations.
In April 2005, the Minister of Environmental
Affairs and Tourism appointed a panel of experts
that included representatives from the hunting
industry, the community, international and national
conservation organizations, animal welfare organizations,
and others to investigate hunting activities and to
recommend guiding principles for the drafting of
national norms and standards. In October 2005, the
panel released a report (Department of
Environmental Affairs and Tourism 2005) that also
addressed some broader aspects related to the
wildlife industry. The report was informed by public
input and four commissioned research/review
papers on: (1) the status quo of the hunting industry,
(2) the regulation of the industry, (3) conservation
impacts, and (4) international best practices for
hunting. Public input came from various hunting
and game associations, animal welfare organizations,
international and national conservation NGOs, the
Game Rangers Association of South Africa,
community representatives, and representatives of
the canned hunting industry. Three broad sets of
principles guided the panel in their assessment: (1)
the sustainable use of wildlife, seeking to ensure
that any practices associated with hunting do not
compromise the long-term survival and viability of
a particular species or ecosystem, (2) the humane
treatment of animals, as set out in South Africa’s
Animal Protection Act (1962), and (3) the principle
of fair chase (Department of Environmental Affairs
and Tourism 2005). The recommendations of this
report contributed significantly to the development
of the new Threatened and Protected Species
Regulations (TOPS) (Department of Environmental
Affairs and Tourism 2007b) These regulations came
into force on the postponed date of 1 February 2008
after public feedback, amendment, and workshops.
They also contributed significantly to the draft Alien
and Invasive Species Regulations (AIS) (Department
of Environmental Affairs and Tourism 2009b) that
have direct consequences for the wildlife-ranching
The goal of the new TOPS regulations is to provide
a national standard for the utilization of named
threatened or protected species in both owned and
wild populations across South Africa, on private,
state, and communal land. According to a senior
employee of the Regulation and Monitoring
Services who is responsible for drafting and
implementing the regulations, “TOPS provides
additional protection in provinces where legislation
is not adequate and also uniform protection in all
nine provinces” (senior employee, national
government/regulation and monitoring services,
2008, personal communication). A wide range of
critically endangered, endangered, vulnerable, and
protected indigenous species of high conservation
value or national importance, spanning fish,
reptiles, birds, mammals, plants, and invertebrates,
will have uniform conservation status across South
Africa for the first time, including the African wild
dog (Lycaon pictus), mountain zebra (Equus zebra),
blue swallow (Hirundo atrocaerulea), roan
antelope (Hippotragus equinus), bontebok (Damaliscus
pygargus pygargus), oribi (Ourebia ourebi), spotted
hyena (Crocuta crocuta), honey badger (Mellivora
capensis), wild yam (Dioscorea ebutsiniorum), and
cycad (Cycadophyta; see Department of Environmental
Affairs and Tourism 2007a for a full list). No
restricted activities, including for example,
possessing, killing, gathering, breeding, selling, or
translocating, can be carried out involving a TOPS
specimen, whether it is alive or dead, without a
TOPS permit.
Ecology and Society (): r
These regulations will have a direct bearing on the
permits issued by Nature Conservation and,
therefore, will affect the running of private wildlife
ranches across South Africa. Authorities will now
have to consider a greater number of factors, such
as biodiversity management plans for the species
concerned (Appendix 1) when issuing a permit.
Specifically, ranchers may be refused a permit if:
(1) the application does not appear to be in the best
interest of the threatened or protected species
concerned, (2) the wildlife ranch to which the TOPS
species is to be translocated falls outside of the
natural distribution range of that species, and (3)
there is a risk of spreading a disease or a risk of
hybridization with other species on translocation of
a TOPS species to an extensive wildlife system
(Carroll and Boshoff 2007). Therefore, the
regulations should reduce the risk of hybridization
and unnecessary deaths of species not adapted to
the environment in which they are introduced. For
example, where blue wildebeest (Connochaetes
taurinus) already occur on an extensive wildlife
system, and the intention is to introduce the TOPS
species black wildebeest (Connochaetes gnou) on
the same extensive wildlife system, a permit for the
translocation of the black wildebeest to the
extensive wildlife system must be refused to prevent
potential hybridization (Carroll and Boshoff 2007).
Similarly, the TOPS species bontebok cannot be
placed on a ranch where blesbok (Damaliscus
dorcas phillipsi) are already present. The
regulations should also reduce deliberate cross-
breeding of TOPS species and inbreeding in captive
breeding operations, and therefore the pollution of
wild populations, through tighter restrictions on
application for registration of an intensive breeding
facilities and regular monitoring of practice. The
problem of stocking a small number of isolated
TOPS species should also be reduced through the
permit-issuing system, in which issuing authorities
have to assess whether the restricted activities are
likely to have a negative impact on the survival of
the species (TOPS regulation 10).
Under the new regulations, a permit is needed for
restricted activities affecting wild transitory TOPS
predators such as serval (Leptailurus serval),
cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus), cape fox (Vulpes
chama), and leopard (Panthera pardus). This will
potentially reduce their persecution. However, these
regulations do not apply to caracal (Caracal
caracal) or black-backed jackal (Canis mesomelas),
as they are not considered threatened species but are
nonetheless frequently persecuted on ranches. An
individual animal assessed by authorities to be
“damage-causing” may be hunted with a TOPS
permit as a last resort; however, a TOPS permit to
hunt the animal may not be issued to a hunting client,
in an attempt to reduce false claims. There are a
number of stipulations in the regulations that are
contrary to the recommendations of the panel of
experts. Although the panel determined that using
bait as a method of hunting compromises the
principals of “fair chase” and thus recommended
that it not be allowed, the regulations nonetheless
allow the use of bait in hunting lions, hyena, and
leopard. Similarly, the regulations do not prevent
the use of flood or spotlights when hunting leopard
and hyena. Damage-causing animals may be killed
with the use of poison, bait, and traps, excluding gin
traps. The regulations do not define “fair chase.”
The second draft of the AIS regulations (Appendix
2) also incorporates regional restrictions, including
activities relating to specific listed invasive
indigenous mammal species (see Department of
Environmental Affairs and Tourism 2009a for a full
list) including giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis),
nyala (Tragelaphus angasii), waterbuck (Kobus
ellipsiprymnus), and impala (Aepyceros melampus
melampus). These regulations do not apply to
indigenous species unless the species is a listed
invasive species. Under these regulations, a large
range of alien and invasive mammals, birds, reptiles,
amphibians, fish, invertebrates, and plants species
have various restrictions of use. There are three main
categories of species. List 1 exempts various
categories of alien species. List 2 lists prohibited
alien species that cannot be imported and if found
on a property require compulsory control, for
example, Beisa oryx (Oryx beisa). List 3 provides
listed invasive species under four categories: (1a)
invasive species requiring compulsory control, for
example, all hybrids and the lesser kudu
(Tragelaphus imberbis), (1b) invasive species
controlled as part of an invasive species program,
for example, prickly pear (Opuntia , various
subspecies), (2) invasive species regulated by area,
for example, red river/spider/sugar gum (Eucalyptus,
various species, (although 1b within riparian areas),
black-faced impala (Aepyceros melampus petersi),
blesbok, red lechwe (Kobus leche), mountain
reedbuck (Redunca fulvorufula), giraffe and impala,
and (3) invasive species regulated by activity, for
example, Derby eland (Tragelaphus derbianus).
For example if a rancher has nyala, a popular
hunting species to be regulated by area, on their land,
Ecology and Society (): r
then his/her enclosure must either be within the
distribution range of the species as determined by
the Director-General, or the rancher must acquire a
demarcation permit to undertake restricted activities
such as possessing, selling, or hunting the nyala. A
demarcation permit requires a risk assessment to be
conducted at the cost of the rancher (Appendix 2).
Such steps are seen as necessary to protect naturally
occurring species from being displaced by invasive
species. For example, nyala introduced in the
Western Cape tend to displace bushbuck
(Tragelaphus scriptus) (Department of Environmental
Affairs and Tourism 2005). The regulations also
have the potential to reduce hybridization of species
such as blesbok and bontebok that are restricted by
region. Furthermore, ranchers will no longer be able
to undertake restricted activities involving hybrid
species without a permit, for which a risk assessment
is required. Where a listed invasive species occurs,
all landowners will need to notify the relevant
authority in writing. Some species are listed in both
sets of regulations. For example, the endangered
Hartmann’s zebra (Equus zebra hartmannae) and
the vulnerable Cape Mountain zebra (Equus zebra
zebra) are TOPS species and indigenous invasive
species with regional restrictions. As such, there
should no longer be a threat of the subspecies
hybridizing. The regulations have the potential to
reduce the degradation of habitats that can occur
through the presence of invasive and alien species,
and also to reduce the conversion of natural veld
into grassland with the purpose of introducing
species not within their natural distribution range.
Most specific species reported in the literature as
suffering ecological consequences as a result of
ranching appear to be included in the regulations.
However, one species that is not listed under either
set of regulations is the springbok (Antidorcas
marsupialis). Springbok introduced into the
southern parts of the West Coast easily contract foot
rot due to the humid winter conditions (Hamman et.
al. 2003). There is also the threat of hybridization
between the two springbok subspecies. Other
shortcomings are found concerning the individual
management of ranches. For example, according to
a senior employee from the government branch
responsible for drafting and implementing the
regulations, “unfortunately, management of game
farms without considering ecological concepts is a
big problem, but it is not addressed in conservation
legislation. The idea is that nature conservation
departments should provide advice in this regard to
landowners, but this happens in very few provinces”
(senior employee, national government/regulation
and monitoring services, 2008, personal communication).
Other factors the regulations will not address are the
inadequate knowledge of conservation ecology on
many ranches, inappropriate carrying capacities and
stocking rates for grazers and browsers, or
inappropriate predator-prey ratios. Nor will they
address the problems associated with game fencing
small pockets of land, or the focus on popular
Both the TOPS regulations and the AIS regulations
require that authorities gather and store specific
information, such as the number of TOPS hunted
each year, that should lead to greater species
monitoring and feedback into a national system
through collaboration with SANBI. The South
African National Biodiversity Institute is
responsible for the collection, analysis, coordination,
and dissemination of information and operates as a
national advisory body on biodiversity, among
others such as the Endangered Wildlife Trust
(EWT) and the World Wildlife Fund for Nature. The
TOPS regulations require authorities to base their
decisions to issue permits on any relevant
information in the databases that SANBI is required
to keep by the Biodiversity Act. The databases
referred to in the Act are broad ranging (see section
11[j] of the Act) and include information on
taxonomy, distribution, threat status, and known
levels of use for different components of
biodiversity. The South African National
Biodiversity Institute is also responsible for
determining hunting off-take limits, but according
to a senior employee, this function is limited only
to species identified by the Minister and is expected
to comprise a small number of species of special
concern. Although SANBI’s role in terms of the
wildlife-ranching industry is currently quite limited,
they have an “ongoing commitment to develop these
databases and to make them as comprehensive as
possible” (senior employee, SANBI, 2007,
personal communication).
The development of a national electronic permitting
system will also assist in coordination. According
to a senior employee of the division of Biodiversity
and Conservation, “persons requiring a permit will
apply online through a central system that has been
developed to avoid duplication of permits,
confusion, and corruption” (senior employee,
national government/DEAT Directorate Biodiversity
and Conservation, 2007, personal communication).
Once adequately implemented and enforced, these
Ecology and Society (): r
regulations will assist in addressing South Africa’s
international obligations to the CBD, particularly
those relating to sustainable use and alien species
(see the Convention on Biological Diversity 2001
, articles 6(a), 8(c), 8(h), 8(k), 10(a), and 10(b); for
example, “prevent the introduction of, control, or
eradicate those alien species that threaten
ecosystems, habitats or species” (article 8[h]) and
“adopt measures relating to the use of biological
resources to avoid or minimize adverse impacts on
biological diversity” (article 10[b]). They also
address a number of national policy goals of the
White Paper, for example: (1) conserving the
diversity of landscapes, ecosystems, habitats,
communities, populations, species and genes in
South Africa, and (2) using biological resources
sustainably and minimizing adverse impacts on
biological diversity.
Two key themes emerged from interviews: (1) the
regulations are a considerable source of tension
among stakeholders at a local, provincial, and
national level, and (2) the economic priorities of
ranchers conflict with conservationist aims.
Tensions among Stakeholders
There has been much discussion and disagreement
regarding the content of TOPS regulations since
their announcement, not only from the ranching
community, but also from provincial governments
and independent conservation organizations
(Appendix 3). The national department developed
the regulations for the provinces to implement and,
although they were consulted in the development
process, this scenario is perceived by some to cause
problems. There are feelings from a number of
individuals working in the provincial departments
that they are better equipped in terms of experience
to make management decisions regarding their
province than the national body. They are also
concerned about a lack of capacity and finances for
implementation. The national body has serious
concerns regarding the readiness of the provinces
to implement the legislation in terms of manpower,
knowledge, a lack of motivation to understand and
implement the regulations, and also regarding
cooperation because of a greater workload. They
are also concerned that there is a lack of
understanding by ranchers and potential noncompliance:
“from the industry side the concern is that they do
not know how the whole system will work. Their
complaint is that they have not received the
information. Another problem is that they get the
information from fellow farmers, which is most of
the time incorrect, but which influences them
negatively” (senior employee, national government/
regulation and monitoring services, 2008, personal
communication). This concern is mirrored by a
respondent from an organization that represents the
wildlife-ranching industry in South Africa: “game
farmers and wildlife translocators don’t take the
TOPS very well—basically due to confusions,
misunderstandings and complexity of the
regulations” (senior representative, wildlife-
ranching industry, 2008, personal communication).
The move to temporarily remove lion as a listed
large predator has angered many people within the
wildlife ranching community who feel that the
original purpose of the regulations has been
removed. The removal has consequently intensified
the debate surrounding the regulations, and late
changes such as this have contributed to the
implementation of the regulations having a troubled
start. Many ranchers also feel that they have a
greater knowledge of managing wildlife than those
within government because of their practical
experience. Those within conservation NGOs
appear generally positive about the new regulations,
although some feel that they do not fully address the
problems of the industry, and there is widespread
concern that their implementation will not be
adequate. Wildlife consultants again generally view
the regulations as being positive for conservation,
but also have concerns about their policing. A lack
of enforcement officials and a lack of support from
the judicial system have been reported as obstacles
by the national department. Wildlife consultants/
conservationists working on ranches appear to be
focused on the practicalities of implementing the
regulations, for example, by removing alien species,
and should be a source of support to ranch owners
in interpretation and implementation. As such,
NGOs appear to be largely acting to bridge the gap
between the local, provincial, and national groups.
Economic Interests Versus Conservationist
There are concerns among those within the ranching
industry that the new regulations will have an impact
on their income. A key issue for ranchers appears
Ecology and Society (): r
to be the government move toward restrictions on
the introduction of TOPS and invasive species that
are not within their natural distribution range, and
the effect that this may have on tourism
opportunities. Some provinces, such as Gauteng,
already have restrictions on extralimital species,
whereas others do not. The manager of a game
capture team whose livelihood is dependent upon
the game he can catch and sell, commented:
They don’t want certain species to come into
the Western Cape and they say species that
weren’t in the Western Cape 100 yrs ago
should go out of the Western Cape or be
shot there. It’s people that sit in their office
all day, been studying all their life, never
got out of their four walls and have no idea
what is going on in the world practically.
In 5 yrs time, the Eastern Cape is going to
get all the tourism and Cape Town nothing;
there is no game around Cape Town. We
have to start game farms or else we are
going to lose all of our tourism. (Manager,
wildlife ranching industry/game capture
company, 2007, personal communication).
In some cases, the legislation will restrict wildlife
ranchers from obtaining species that are popular
with tourists such as white rhino (Ceratotherium
simum), giraffe, and black wildebeest, leading to
what some call unfair competition where some
ranchers have an advantage in terms of ability to
attract wildlife-viewing tourists and hunters. The
DEAT Directorate of Regulation and Monitoring
Services has been investigating various options as
to how to deal with the occurrence of animal species
that are already present in some provinces but now
prohibited. As one senior employee explained:
We are considering allowing the keeping of
these species where they already occur, but
prohibiting the translocation of them to
other areas. If they were allowed to be
imported before under legal permits, we
cannot force owners to remove them now.
With development of legislation, we also
have to keep constitutional issues, such as
ownership, in mind. (National government/
regulation and monitoring services, 2008,
personal communication).
Certainly, the removal of these species would be a
considerable challenge that would affect a large
number of ranchers. For example, a study in the
Eastern Cape reported that six out of the 10 private
game reserves surveyed had giraffe, totalling 104
giraffe, despite evidence that they do not naturally
occur in the Eastern Cape and damage vegetation
(Langholtz and Kerley 2006). The impact of the
regulations will vary among ranches and provinces
depending on the type of wildlife utilization, for
example, hunting or wildlife viewing. This impact
is also affected by distance from cities and the type
of habitat and species present (Bothma et al. 2009).
Gaining permits for species that ranchers regularly
bought in the past may now be difficult. For
example, Sanbona Wildlife Reserve, situated in the
Western Cape, will no longer be able to bring in
black wildebeest as they did not occur there
historically. However, Sanbona Wildlife Reserve is
currently in the process of joining up with the
CapeNature stewardship program, and in doing so
will be given provincial reserve status and, along
with this, certain benefits including extra time to
implement the new TOPS legislation. Stewardship
could be an option for some ranchers with
biologically important land, and could be
encouraged by offering incentive-based mechanisms
for landowners who enter into agreements to
conserve biodiversity on their land. However,
opportunities are limited as programs concentrate
their resources in areas threatened by land
transformation. Furthermore, most ranches occur in
savannah areas, which are not the highest priority
for stewardship type arrangements (resource
ecologist for the stewardship program, 2007,
personal communication).
A further concern for ranchers is the level of
resources needed to remove alien and invasive plant
species. Those respondents within conservation
NGOs and provincial governments also have
concerns regarding the level of motivation of
ranchers to do more to conserve their land. Indeed,
a number of ranchers felt that they were already
helping the government by maintaining natural
areas, and that conservation should be the
responsibility of the government and not impact on
their livelihoods. It was widely suggested by
respondents that support and economic incentives
such as tax rebates would be needed in addition to
legislation to motivate ranchers. For example, one
provincial government representative (2007,
personal communication) commented that: “in the
majority of cases, ranchers will only be interested
in doing more if a benefit can be translated to
monetary value, which is seldom possible.”
Ecology and Society (): r
Incentives for ranchers to form conservancies were
also suggested. However, according to an
interviewee from a well-known conservation NGO
(2007, personal communication), “in most
provinces private game ranchers are not being
offered any assistance or incentive to do more in
terms of conservation.” In Gauteng, for example,
tax incentives have been mentioned but not yet
implemented. The Gauteng government do provide
support, but in the form of an extension service to
the public that promotes best practices regarding the
use of natural resources and wildlife, and a
telephone helpline and information regarding
conservation priorities for the province. Ecological
decision support is delivered free of charge when
land has been prioritized as important for
conservation purposes. In the North West province,
supporting private conservation initiatives is not
currently a priority. Their immediate concern is
“investigating the possibility of introducing
previously disadvantaged people into the game-
farming industry” (provincial government representative,
2007, personal communication).
A further concern of ranchers is the increased cost
of permits under the new regulations. In addition, a
member of a game-capture team expressed concern
that the new regulations would slow down the
permit system, thereby losing them time and money.
The South African Predator Breeders Association
(SAPBA) is among those in opposition because of
economic concerns. The South African Predator
Breeders Association represents those farmers who
are making a living by breeding lions for hunting.
They have instituted legal proceedings against the
Minister of Environmental Affairs because of the
clause in the TOPS regulations that captive-bred
lions may not be hunted for a period of 24 months
after release, which they consider to be detrimental
to their business and income. Recently (June 2009),
a court upheld the TOPS regulations and,
consequently, lion will be again added to the TOPS
list. This ruling will affect some 123 breeders and
approximately 3,000–4,000 lions currently in
breeding facilities. An estimated 80%–90% of lions
hunted in South Africa are believed to be canned
(Patterson and Khosa 2005, Lindsey at al 2007).
Although positive conservation impacts are
attributed to private wildlife ranching in South
Africa, self-regulation appears to have been largely
unsuccessful, as there are a growing number of
unwanted ecological consequences associated with
ranching that countermand South Africa’s
international and national obligations on biodiversity
conservation and the sustainable use of wildlife.
New national regulations are “scaling-up” the
regulation of the wildlife industry with the aim of
coordinating provincial legislation and steering the
industry in a more conservationist direction.
The new regulations will begin to address
international and national obligations by potentially
combating a number of specific ecological problems
associated with wildlife ranching such as genetic
pollution, and through greater species monitoring
and improved accuracy in setting hunting quotas.
However, in practice, the regulations are a
significant source of tension among stakeholders at
different sociopolitical scales (Hein et al. 2006) and
will be challenging to implement and enforce.
Competing agendas and differing levels of power
and capacities among different interest groups at
various levels, from local to international, add to the
complexities of regulating wildlife and present
significant challenges to environmental governance
(Jones 2006). The scale and diversity of the
organizations within the ranching industry also
make regulation fraught with difficulty. Despite the
process of public consultation, feedback,
workshops, and information sessions in the
development of the regulations, there is
disagreement regarding the content of the
regulations, there are tensions among stakeholders
regarding the political scale at which it is
appropriate to regulate the industry, and also
regarding the suitability of ecological knowledge at
various levels to best regulate and manage ranches.
There are also major concerns regarding the
capacity to implement and enforce the regulations
and the willingness of ranchers to comply.
Ranchers are largely concerned about the impact
that the regulations may have on their livelihoods,
particularly with regard to a potential reduction in
tourism revenues from restrictions in use, and
increased costs because of additional permits. These
concerns should be taken seriously, as any
regulations reducing or removing the incentive to
ranch wildlife may impair the relative competitiveness
of wildlife as a land use, thus threatening the
survival of the industry. As previously stated, the
success of conservation on these lands is said to be
based on the price–proprietorship–subsidiarity
hypothesis (Child 2003, 2005). However, the new
Ecology and Society (): r
regulations appear to countermand these principles
by potentially reducing the value of wildlife to
ranchers. Therefore, in addressing these problems
at the margin, the new regulations may actually
encourage some ranchers to convert their land away
from conservation-friendly land use. Furthermore,
the regulations countermand this hypothesis by
organizing wildlife at a national, rather than a local,
level. However, according to Murphree (2000) and
Lovell et al. (2002), the “big government” and
“small is beautiful” approaches to conservation both
have inherent problems in dealing with scale. For
example, large jurisdictions can lack transparency
with their constituents, be out of touch with local
priorities and aspirations (Lovell et al. 2002), and
lack linkages between authority and responsibility
(Murphree 2000). Alternatively, “small is
beautiful” can result in a multiplicity of fragmented
jurisdictions that lack coordination when it comes
to addressing large-scale problems (Lovell et al.
2002). According to Berkes (2004), it is important
to match the scale of management to the scale of the
system to be managed. It may be that integrating
approaches offers the best solution, combining
locally tailored support with a framework of
national monitoring and quota setting to achieve a
widespread reduction in ecological consequences,
while providing for local variance. This will require
a shared vision across all institutional levels that
will depend on gaining the support of wildlife
ranchers and individuals within provincial
Innovative strategies will be necessary to reduce
costs and gain support, including increased
assistance for wildlife ranchers in the form of tax
rebates for improved ecological performance, and
extension services in conjunction with ecological
advice from provincial governments. These
measures would be valuable and may increase
ranchers’ motivation and cooperation to adopt
environmentally friendly practices, with the
emphasis on long-term ecological health rather than
short-term gain (Langholz and Kerley 2006).
Further, wildlife ranchers should explore
stewardship options, even if they are limited in
availability, species-focused support available from
the EWT working groups, and ecological
management services in their province. In some
cases, ecological services are offered for free, with
international volunteers assisting in funding the
work (Cousins et al. 2009). A number of authors
(including Langholz and Kerley 2006, Lindsey et
al. 2007) have suggested the development of a
nationally recognized certification or rating system
based on factors such as commitment to
conservation including the creation of conservancies,
community development, and hunting ethics. Such
a system may create a market-driven desire for
sustainable practices, rather than just use. It will be
important that those at the various sociopolitical
levels work closely together and that there is an
ongoing system of feedback. The importance of the
creation of incentives that support conservation and
sustainable use, and the provision of greater human
capacity to conserve and manage biodiversity, are
encompassed in national policy goals and need to
be addressed as a matter of urgency. In addition,
greater public education may reduce the pressure on
ranchers to stock specific species favoured by
tourists in what is an incentive-led industry.
In conjunction with efforts to support and motivate
good conservation practice on private wildlife
ranches, important issues such as community
involvement and land reform must to be taken into
consideration. The new TOPS regulations do go
some way to enhancing opportunities for entrance
into the game-ranching industry for previously
disadvantaged individuals, by stipulating that
registered hunting organizations must have a clear
policy to include persons from disadvantage
communities as members. The future of
conservation in South Africa depends on developing
innovate strategies that are not only ecologically
appropriate, but also economically viable for
ranchers, and socially just for previously
disadvantaged communities. Achieving all three
will be challenging, but is vital for the continued
growth and success of private wildlife ranching and
conservation in South Africa.
Responses to this article can be read online at:
The research for this paper was funded by a PhD
scholarship in GEES at the University of
Birmingham and an NERC/ESRC grant
PTA-036-20-06-00017. The authors wish to thank
all those who gave their time to be interviewed and
two anonymous reviewers for their insightful
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APPENDIX 1. TOPS regulations: key points relating to conservation and wildlife ranching
(1) Issuing authorities considering a permit application for a TOPS species have to take into account a
number of factors, including: the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List for
Threatened Species status, whether the restricted activity in respect of which the application is submitted
is likely to have a negative impact on the survival of the relevant listed threatened or protected species,
the biodiversity management plan for the species concerned, if any, relevant information on the database
that the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) is required to keep in terms of section 11
(1)(j) of the National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act (NEMBA), and any risk assessment
or expert evidence requested by the issuing authority (Regulation 10).
(2) Applications involving wild populations of critically endangered species require additional measures,
including: (1) a risk assessment, and (2) consideration as to whether the restricted activity applied for is
in line with the biodiversity management plan for the species involved (Regulation 11).
(3) Additional factors to be taken into account by issuing authorities when considering applications for
hunting permits include: the hunting off-take limits determined by SANBI for a listed threatened or
protected animal species (Regulation 12).
(4) In the case of a damage-causing animal originating from a protected area, a standard set of control
options must be considered by the relevant provincial department. A damage-causing animal may only
be killed without a permit in self-defence where human life is threatened (Regulation 14).
(5) An issuing authority must refuse a permit application for the translocation of a specimen of a listed
threatened or protected species to an extensive wildlife system: (1) if such an extensive wildlife system
falls outside the natural distribution range of that animal species and the extensive wildlife system is a
protected area, or (2) if there is a risk of transmitting disease or of hybridization with other species in
that extensive wildlife system (Regulation 23).
(6) Prohibited activities now include the hunting of a listed large predator, white or black rhinoceros
(Ceratotherium simum or Diceros bicornis), that is a put-and-take animal or in a controlled environment,
that is, “canned” hunting† and the use of any tranquilizing agents or use of a gin trap (Regulation 24).
(7) Prohibited activities involving listed threatened or protected Encephalartos species include:
gathering, cutting, destroying, and trade in artificially propagated specimens of critically endangered or
endangered Encephalartos species or the export of such specimens, with a stem diameter of more than
15 cm, except where provided for in a biodiversity management plan approved by the Minister in terms
of section 43 of the Biodiversity Act (Regulation 25; amended 27 February 2009).
(8) Dart or “green” hunting‡ is now prohibited except in cases where a veterinarian or a person
authorized by a veterinarian in writing is in possession of valid permit (Regulation 26).
(9) Bow hunting of a listed large predator, crocodile (Crocodilus, white and black rhinoceros, and
elephant (Elephas) is now prohibited (Regulation 26).
(10) Compulsory conditions for the registration of captive breeding operations: the person to whom the
registration certificate is granted must prevent hybridization and/or inbreeding, keep a stud book where
appropriate, and provide information each year to the issuing authority (Regulation 35; also see
Appendix 2).
(11) A Scientific Authority has been established that will meet at least once a year to develop a report to
Ecology and Society (): r
the Minister regarding compliance with provisions in terms of section 61 of the Biodiversity Act
(Regulations 59/65).
†Green hunting is where animals are hunted by means of a dart containing an immobilizing agent.
‡Canned hunting is where lions are bred and hunted within in a controlled, caged environment for
commercial purposes.
Ecology and Society (): r
APPENDIX 2. Draft Alien and Invasive Species Regulations: summary of key points relating to
conservation and wildlife ranching
(1) A person who is the owner of land where a specimen of a prohibited alien species or a listed invasive
species occurs, and does not have a permit, must notify the relevant competent authority in writing
(Regulation 18[1]). ***is the meaning of this sentence still correct?
(2) Restricted activities: allowing any specimen of an alien or listed invasive species to grow, breed, or
multiply; allowing the movement or spread of a specimen of an alien of listed invasive species; and
releasing a specimen of an alien or listed invasive species (Regulation 22).
(3) A person may not import into the Republic of South Africa a specimen of any species, including an
exempted species, unless authorized to do so by a permit (Regulation 24[1]).
(4) A person may not release a specimen of a new alien species imported into the Republic of South
Africa unless authorized to do so by a permit (24[2]).
(5) A person may undertake any restricted activity involving a specimen of an exempted species without
a permit, except import into the Republic of South Africa (Regulation 25[1/2]).
(6) A person may not import nor undertake any other restricted activity involving a specimen of a
prohibited alien species (Regulation 26).
(7) A person may not undertake the following restricted activities involving a specimen of a species
listed in List 3 as an invasive requiring compulsory control: import, possess, allow to grow, breed,
translocate, trade/dispose, buy/acquire (Regulation 27[1]).
(8) No person may undertake the following restricted activities involving a specimen listed in List 3 as
an invasive species controlled by the invasive species management program: import, breed, translocate,
allow spread, sell/dispose, buy/acquire (Regulation 28).
(9) No person may undertake the following restricted activities involving a specimen of a species listed
in List 3 as an invasive species controlled by area without a demarcation permit: import, possess, allow
to grow/breed/multiply, translocate, sell/dispose, buy/acquire (Regulation 29[1]). However, a person
may carry out a restricted activity without a permit in the part of the Republic of South Africa indicated
as the distribution range of the species or an area demarcated for that purpose (a person must apply for
demarcation) (29[3/30][1/2]).
(10) No person may undertake the following activities involving specimen of a species listed in List 3 as
a species controlled by activity without a permit: import, possess, allow to grow/breed/multiply,
transloctate, sell/dispose, buy/acquire (31[1]).
(11) A person disposing of immovable property is obliged to disclose to the person acquiring the
property whether there are any prohibited alien or prohibited invasive species or any invasive species
controlled by the invasive species management program on the property (34[1]).
(12) A risk assessment must be undertaken before: carrying out an activity prescribed in terms of
Regulation 23, importing a specimen of any species described in Regulation 24 into the Republic of
South Africa, demarcating an area in terms of Regulation 30, and issuing a permit to undertake any other
restricted activity involving a listed invasive species (Regulation 35).
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(13) A risk assessment must be conducted at the cost of the applicant (Regulation 40).
(14) Upon receipt of an application for a permit, the issuing authority must take into consideration the
national strategy, and the contents of the risk assessment report (44[2]).
(15) An issuing authority must refuse an application if there is a risk that the restricted activity could
result in a significant impact on biological diversity (44[4]).
(16) A competent authority must keep a record of all directives issued along with further information
(Regulation 71[a/b]) and, at the end of each calendar year, submit a written report of all directives and
further information recorded to SANBI (71[c]).
(17) The Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism must prepare a national strategy for
preventing, eradicating, or controlling alien and listed invasive species (7[1]).
(18) The Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism must develop an invasive species
management program for each species identified (8[1]). A competent authority may require a landowner
to prepare a plan for the monitoring, control, and eradication of invasive species occurring on their land
(19) The Institute (SANBI) must develop and publish guidelines for the preparation of an invasive
species control plan on its website (9[1]).
(20) The Institute (SANBI) must establish and maintain a national register of alien and listed invasive
species and control plans (Regulation 10) and submit a report on their status to the Minister (Regulation
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APPENDIX 3. Further respondents’ comments regarding the implementation and enforcement of TOPS
Resistance from game ranchers. The reason is that many of them are still uninformed, or misinformed.
In many cases the use of TOPS permits will make it easier, but that is not understood by game ranchers.
The misperception by farmers is that they will not be able to do anything with their TOPS species, which
is not true. However, now they need a permit for any activity, where previously it was not always
necessary in terms of provincial legislation. A reality is that they will have to pay for all the permits and
the registration, which will increase the costs of the total amount of permits they will need and they will
need to pay for more of them. (Senior employee, national government/regulation and monitoring
services, 2008, personal communication)
Game-farm owners with TOPS species may register their game farms. Only once registered, they may
apply for a standing permit. This permit is valid for 3 yrs, and may list all the activities that may be
undertaken for the general management of the farm (includes activities such as hunting, selling, buying,
transporting, darting for treatment, importing, exporting, capturing, etc.). The standing permit may also
list the TOPS species on the game farm. In terms of provincial legislation, the same type of permit is
issued (called an exemption permit) but only for hunting, capturing, and selling. Therefore, the standing
permit will include more activities. Also, if they apply correctly, they only need to apply for a permit
once in 3 yrs, where previously they had to apply in many cases, for permits on an individual basis. In
addition, only when registered, the game-farm owner may purchase a book with “game-farm hunting
permits” that he may issue to each hunter that will hunt a TOPS species on the farm, rather than the
hunter applying to nature conservation and having to wait 3 weeks plus. So it is easier. (Senior
employee, national government/regulation and monitoring services, 2008, personal communication)
Our national department arranged an information session in all the provinces last year. We informed the
provincial offices about the session, and they had to inform the stakeholders, as up to now we have not
dealt with the industries directly. Unfortunately, the attendance in many provinces was poor to extremely
poor. We also compiled a guidelines document for distribution on how to interpret the legislation, how to
issue permits, and what the permits could be used for. (Senior employee, national government/regulation
and monitoring services, 2008, personal communication)
I am confident that in time we will be able to effectively enforce the TOPS regulations. But it will largely
depend on the willingness and capability of provinces to do their share. From the national department
side we will sort out the impractical provisions which unfortunately will take time, as we have to amend
the Biodiversity Act. Conservation authorities should make an effort to appoint adequate numbers of
properly trained law enforcement officials that will do proactive, rather than reactive, law enforcement,
i.e., patrolling problem areas on a regular basis. The other problem with successfully charging people
operating illegally is the lack of support from the judicial system. Hopefully in terms of national
legislation, with proper fines, this problem should be sorted out. (Senior employee, national
government/regulation and monitoring services, 2008, personal communication)
We provided an implementation guideline document, to explain how the permits work, what they can be
used for, how to interpret the regulations, etc. Unfortunately, officials do not read this document and still
provide wrong information to the public, or prefer to direct their questions to us before looking at what
the guidelines say. (Senior employee, national government/regulation and monitoring services, 2008,
personal communication)
(Regarding implementation) Lack of finances and personnel will definitely play a role, but provincial
departments have had a period of about 2 yrs to prepare for the implementation, to plan their personnel
structure, and to budget for that. It did not happen. (Senior employee, national government/regulation
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and monitoring services, 2008, personal communication)
Major concerns regarding implementation and enforcement are willingness and readiness of the
provinces to implement in terms of human resources, finances, expertise because of continuity of
personnel/high turnover, knowledge and understanding of the regulations, lack of managerial/technical/
scientific support in decision making, poor planning, tensions, and lack of communication between
provincial offices and wildlife ranchers, lack of resources for properly trained enforcement officials, and
lack of support from the judicial system. (Senior employee, national government/regulation and
monitoring services, 2008, personal communication)
We (provincial authorities) sometimes differ from some individuals at national because of our many yrs
hands-on experience in the provinces, and their lack thereof. Many ideas might have originated from
persons not familiar with the bigger picture or possibly with hidden agendas or even negative attitudes
such as the so-called “greenies.” Not all decisions taken were done on scientific proof, and some were
just humanly impossible to implement. Unfortunately, the provinces have to implement. We were
sufficiently consulted in the forming of the regulations, but sometimes we were overridden by who knows
who. (Provincial government representative, 2008, personal communication)
In short, we will have to handle many more applications, do inspections for each application, process
and issue the permits, and follow up with law enforcement. No additional funding has been provided.
(Provincial government representative, 2008, personal communication)
There is a dispute between the official nature conservation agencies and the private game farmers
because the former is the regulator and the latter does not want to be regulated. This is the crux of the
debate. (Provincial government representative, 2007, personal communication)
Provincial authorities differ in opinion from national and there are prescripts that we will have to
implement, although we do not agree with national. Provincial authorities were not capacitated to
implement and lack either funding, personal skills, or equipment. (Provincial government, 2008,
personal communication)
(Are you confident that the new TOPS legislation can be implemented and enforced effectively?) No.
National does not have the capacity or skills. Provincial neither. (Provincial government represenative,
2008, personal communication
The TOPS regulations will go a long way in protecting the listed species, but it is to some extent
restrictive to landowners and will be costly and difficult to implement. Legislation and regulations
should facilitate conservation on private land and not be too restrictive or difficult to implement. That is
where we must still find the balance. (Provincial government representative, 2007, personal
Budget and staff constraints are the major stumbling blocks. (Provincial government representative,
2007, personal communication)
Conservation on private land could be improved by conservation initiatives, increased government
extension services, and the streamlining of legislation and permitting procedures. Incentives from
government, for example, tax rebates for conservation efforts, would assist in private conservation
initiatives. (Provincial government representative, Northern Cape, 2007, personal communication)
New, good and, I suspect, impossible to implement in Africa at the present time. (Conservation NGO
representative, 2007, personal communication)
As with all legislation, its implementation is crucial and this is grossly inadequate. (Conservation NGO
representative, 2007, personal communication)
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Ranches need support in the form of financial incentives, for example, tax rebates, management
assistance, help with clearing alien and invasive plants, particularly in the case if habitats and species
that are not money spinners. Building positive relationships with landowners. (Conservation NGO/
conservation coordinator, 2007, personal communication)
Lions caused the whole big upset and it is the hunting of lions that is the problem, not the other species
that is now affected. The two species that really required protection (lions and cycads) have now been
excluded. I’m not against TOPS and fully support the original purpose. (Senior representative, wildlife
ranching industry, 2008, personal communication)
There is a lack of government officials who can adequately implement these regulations. At the moment,
our national department is very positive while almost all nine provinces are not equipped, trained, or
motivated to implement the regulations. (Wildlife ranching representative, 2008, personal
It is very obvious that the provinces don’t know what is going on 2 weeks before implementation. To add
to that, the second set of application forms have now also been withdrawn, we are again waiting for the
final application forms. Unbelievable! (Wildlife ranching representative, 2008, personal
Looking at it from a conservationist point of view, the regulations are a good thing. The only problem I
foresee is the policing of this in the beginning. A problem in South Africa regarding not just these new
regulations is manpower and, also very importantly, expertise. (Wildlife manager/conservationist on
private reserve, 2008, personal communication)
(Speaking about a stewardship scheme.) In Sanbona’s case, we can have giraffe and white rhino for x
amount of years to improve tourism. After this time, or for example, if we get any black rhino (Diceros
bicornis), we have to take them off and then follow the new regulations in the future. It is important to
note that although these new regulations seem strict, the governing bodies will still work closely with the
people involved. (Wildlife manager/conservationist, 2008, personal communication
Looking at alien species already occurring in certain areas, this is going to be very difficult and going to
take a long time to take off. (Wildlife manager/conservationist on private reserve, 2008, personal
... A particular emphasis is placed on boundary designation, protection and access control for PNRs (Risk 8), also in the light of increased poaching of endangered species such as rhino. However, research has shown that private land owners are highly skeptical of the ability of the environmental authority to implement and enforce their mandate Cousins et al., 2010;Kamuti, 2014;Kamal et al., 2015b). ...
Privately protected areas (PPAs) are internationally considered to be important policy implementation instruments to augment and strengthen protected area networks. However, there has been limited reflection on the performance of PPAs over time. This paper aims to identify key risks to the performance of PPAs as policy implementation instruments through the application of Theory of Change (ToC). Identifying and understanding these risks are important to allow for the evaluation and monitoring of PPA performance. The ToC method was applied to a specific PPA policy instrument namely, private nature reserves (PNRs) in the South African context. The research results produced 29 key assumptions translated into 29 key risks. These risk are critically discussed against existing South African and international literature. To test and refine the risks further it is recommended that they be applied to PPA case studies in different contexts.
... voiced their concerns over GOs' involvement in managing their land. Similar findings of mistrust toward governmental agencies were found in a study with owners of private land conservation areas elsewhere in South Africa (Cousins et al. 2010, Pasquini et al. 2010, Conradie et al. 2013) and in Australia (Raymond et al. 2015). Historical mistrust of many South Africans toward the government may be amplified by the recent land reform developments, resulting in growing fear of land loss (Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies 2016, Spierenburg 2020), which is a challenge for vertical collaborations in conservation networks. ...
Despite its status as a biodiversity hotspot, the renosterveld ecosystem within the Greater Cape Floristic Region, South Africa, widely lacks the implementation of measures for biodiversity conservation in the Swartland, even though management plans exist. Though formally protected by law, most renosterveld remnants occur on privately owned agricultural land and therefore depend on private land management. Effective measures, and therefore, effective management of renosterveld for conservation, require various forms of knowledge, including scientific and technical knowledge. Knowledge flows through networks among various stakeholders connected through social relationships and enables individuals to acquire, transmit, and create understanding. We assessed the flow of knowledge and advice through a social network of renosterveld stakeholders. We interviewed 53 individuals, of which 32 were renosterveld private land managers, to determine participants' knowledge sources and network connections. The resulting information and advice networks suggest that land managers are relatively isolated from renosterveld-related knowledge. Of the interviewed land managers, 19% did not identify any knowledge sources, and 91% stated they did not receive any advice. Members of academia provided most of the received knowledge (29%). Seventeen percent of all exchanged knowledge stemmed from governmental organizations, and 5% from land managers. The findings suggest that renosterveld land managers have limited access to biodiversity knowledge, and there are limited numbers of connections between land managers and external parties (e.g., researchers, conservationists). Thus, the current knowledge sharing structures are insufficient to inform conservation management of critically endangered renosterveld in the Swartland. In this context, bridging organizations and knowledge brokers are crucial components for biodiversity conservation.
... In southern Africa most PLCAs are self-funded and consequently have to balance conservation and income generation, which sometimes means owners of informal PLCAs have to be flexible in their management strategies to include hunting, ecotourism, crop cultivation, and livestock ranching Shumba, 2019). In some areas, financial motivations have been linked to poor ecological management (Cousins et al., 2010;Maciejewski and Kerley, 2014), which has led conservationists and practitioners to question the effectiveness of PLCAs. ...
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There is increasing interest in the potential of private land conservation areas (PLCAs) as a complementary biodiversity conservation strategy to state-owned protected areas. However, there is limited understanding of how the diverse social-ecological contexts of PLCAs influence their effectiveness in conserving biodiversity. Here, we investigated how the effectiveness of South African PLCAs in conserving biodiversity varied across social-ecological contexts, using natural land cover as a proxy. Social-ecological contexts were represented by biophysical and legal factors (distance to towns and roads, elevation, slope, terrain ruggedness, rainfall, PLCA size, distance to state-owned national parks, and presence of legal protection) and, for a subset of commercially-operated PLCAs, management factors (adopted business model, and profitability). Biophysical and legal contextual factors had low explanatory power in the best model for the nationwide analysis (n = 5,121 PLCAs). For a subset of PLCAs (n = 72) we found that effectiveness depended on the strategy they adopted to generate an income, as opposed to the amount of income itself. PLCAs that attracted high volumes of visitors to small properties to view charismatic “Big 5” wildlife were less effective in conserving natural land cover than larger, more exclusive “Big 5” PLCAs and those focused on hunting. Overall, site-specific management factors were better at explaining the effectiveness of PLCAs than biophysical factors. Our findings indicate that conservation practitioners and policy makers need to recognise the diverse goals, motivations and management models of PLCAs when considering how to support them in conserving biodiversity. Future studies could explore whether these trends hold for other proxies of biodiversity conservation, beyond land cover change.
... By contrast, national government and legislation were consistent concerns for South African PLCAs that generate revenues through hunting (Fig. 2). This industry is regulated by policies that influence the type and number of antelope that can be stocked, translocated and hunted (Cousins et al., 2010). Hunting PLCAs also tend to be less profitable than high-end ecotourism properties in the region , which may make them more susceptible to legislation that increases minimum wages and interest/tax rates. ...
Conserving biodiversity in the long term will depend in part on the capacity of Protected Areas (PAs) to cope with cross-scale, social-ecological disturbances and changes, which are becoming more frequent in a highly connected world. Direct threats to biodiversity within PAs and their interactions with broader-scale threats are both likely to vary with PA spatial and management characteristics (e.g., location, dependence on ecotourism revenues, governmental support). Private Land Conservation Areas (PLCAs) are interesting case study systems for assessing cross-scale threats to PAs and their determinants. Despite the growing number of PLCAs around the world, there is considerable uncertainty regarding the long-term capacity of these privately owned areas to conserve biodiversity. Their potential impermanence is commonly raised as a key concern. To better understand the threats to which different types of PLCAs are likely to be vulnerable, we asked 112 PLCA landholders in South Africa what they perceived as the top threats to their PLCAs. Landowners identified direct threats to the biodiversity within their PLCAs (e.g., poaching, extreme weather, inappropriate fire regimes, alien species) as well as describing broader socio-economic threats (e.g., regional crime, national legislation and politics, global economic recessions), which were noted to interact across scales. We found support for the hypothesis that patterns in the perceived multi-scale threats to a PLCA correspond with its management and spatial characteristics, including its remoteness, dependence on ecotourism or hunting revenues, and richness of megafaunal species. Understanding the threats to which different PLCAs may be vulnerable is useful for developing more nuanced, targeted strategies to build PLCA resilience to these threats (for example, by strengthening the capacity of self-funded PLCAs to cope with the threat of economic downturns through more innovative financial instruments or diversified revenue streams). Our findings highlight the importance of considering interactions between broad-scale socio-economic changes and direct threats to biodiversity, which can influence the resilience of PAs in ways that are not anticipated by more traditional, discipline-specific consideration of direct threats to the biodiversity within their boundaries.
... Deleterious alleles that are in linkage disequilibrium with the genes underlying the desired traits will also be inherited by offspring and increase in frequency in the population [11]. Such intentional genetic manipulation of wildlife may decrease the evolutionary potential of species and reduce the conservation value that may be provided by privately-owned wildlife populations [5,13]. Few studies have been done comparing genetic diversity of species on intensively managed wildlife ranches to more open or natural systems in state protected areas (reserves and transfrontier-or national parks) and extensive game ranches. ...
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Wildlife ranching, although not considered a conventional conservation system, provides a sustainable model for wildlife utilization and could be a source of valuable genetic material. However, increased fragmentation and intensive management may threaten the evolutionary potential and conservation value of species. Disease-free Cape buffalo (Syncerus caffer caffer) in southern Africa exist in populations with a variety of histories and management practices. We compared the genetic diversity of buffalo in national parks to private ranches and found that, except for Addo Elephant National Park, genetic diversity was high and statistically equivalent. We found that relatedness and inbreeding levels were not substantially different between ranched populations and those in national parks, indicating that breeding practices likely did not yet influence genetic diversity of buffalo on private ranches in this study. High genetic differentiation between South African protected areas highlighted their fragmented nature. Structure analysis revealed private ranches comprised three gene pools, with origins from Addo Elephant National Park, Kruger National Park and a third, unsampled gene pool. Based on these results, we recommend the Addo population be supplemented with disease-free Graspan and Mokala buffalo (of Kruger origin). We highlight the need for more research to characterize the genetic diversity and composition of ranched wildlife species, in conjunction with wildlife ranchers and conservation authorities, in order to evaluate the implications for management and conservation of these species across different systems.
... First, that it is economically significant -ethical concerns aside, the industry attempts to justify itself on the grounds that it has a multiplier effect on the regional, rural economy in which it is embedded, supporting not only direct employment but also other connected industries such as in the manufacturing and services sectors (Van Der Merwe et al., 2017). Second, that it has conservation value, both through private game ownership preserving land that would otherwise have been agriculturally cultivated (Cloete and Rossouw, 2014;Cousins et al., 2010) and through the introduction of endangered species into the wild (Abell and Youldon, 2013;SAPA, 2017). ...
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This paper critiques the conservation and economic claims advanced by the captive predator breeding industry in South Africa. It contends that captive lion breeding offers no direct conservation value. Similarly, claims of economic significance and indirect conservation value are tenuous in light of the potential opportunity costs that the industry generates, which remain largely unquantified. Therefore, a new type of cost-benefit analysis (CBA) method is required for quantifying the potential reputation damage and opportunity costs associated with the industry. One element of the industry’s supply chain worth examining in this regard is predator interaction with tourists. This paper estimates that total gross revenue for the sub-sector is estimated at roughly $180 million per annum. These revenues represent a mere 0,96% of tourism’s total GDP contribution in 2019 ($18.8 million) but may entail extensive opportunity costs. Moreover, if the land currently supporting the interaction sector were joined up to create a number of more integrated wilderness landscapes, the total land area that could be transformed would be in the region of 160,000 hectares. Used for non-consumptive ecotourism, this could yield 960 direct jobs. Finally, the paper estimates that the potential net present value of the reputation damage being wrought on South Africa’s critical tourism sector through the industry is $2.79 billion (discounted at 5% over the next decade).
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Private lands are increasingly targeted for ecological restoration and conservation initiatives in high-income countries. However, the fragmented nature of private land tenure, the large number of landowners and their heterogeneous profiles can pose significant challenges for conservation initiatives. This can lead to a range in landowners’ attitudes toward conservation initiatives, with some initiatives being received with resistance, and others with consent and participation. Most research dealing with social outcomes of conservation or restoration initiatives on private lands addresses regionally specific case studies, but few studies have attempted to derive general trends. To fill this gap, we performed a systematic literature review of conservation measures on private lands to develop a comprehensive typology of factors influencing the acceptance of conservation initiatives on private lands. Our results show that conservation agents (typically government agencies or NGOs), despite their limited power over individual factors of private landowners, can seek to encourage both the adoption and perceptions of conservation initiatives on private land through improving institutional interactions. We propose six recommendations to help support and design conservation programs on private lands and to identify intervention levers that may be acted upon to improve the social acceptance of such conservation initiatives.
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The world's largest predators, like their prey species and biodiversity at large, face increasing impacts from climate change, in addition to various other threats. Such climate impacts include the shrinking and disruption of habitat (e.g., polar bear, wolverine); range shifts, especially upslope (e.g., snow leopard, Ethiopian wolf) and poleward (e.g., golden jackal); reduced availability of key resources as water becomes scarcer and prey populations suffer from extreme weather, disease or other climate-related impacts (e.g., Gobi bear, cheetah); and increased human-wildlife conflict, when large carnivores progressively range beyond protected areas (e.g., African wild dog), or when climate change makes their ranges more suitable for livestock (e.g., lion). The aforementioned and many other large carnivore species are protected under global and/ or regional legal instruments for wildlife conservation, such as the Bonn Convention on Migratory Species (CMS), the Algiers and Maputo Conventions on African Nature Conservation, and the Bern Convention on European Wildlife Conservation. We view current international wildlife law through the lens of the aforementioned scenarios and, as it were, through the eyes of the wildlife species involved, and attempt to assess to what extent the law is 'climate change proof' in terms of being prepared for said scenarios. Our analysis indicates, first, that most of the climate adaptation measures that seem necessary-concerning protected areas, connectivity, counteracting climate impacts, and addressing non-climate threats-can in principle be achieved by fully and properly implementing the law as it stands. Second, it appears that the facilitation of range shifts beyond historic ranges still calls for some serious attention and resourceful interpretation. Third, it seems that particularly significant hurdles have yet to be overcome before the law is properly attuned to facilitating managed relocation (assisted colonization) where necessary.
Wildlife ranching (or game farming) on privately owned land has become a formidable economic sector in southern Africa over recent decades, as shown by its huge capital investment and the deepening value chain anchored on wildlife. The wildlife ranching industry, purportedly in the name of nature conservation, is managed under a market‐economic system. This chapter offers a critique of wildlife policy in southern Africa by tracing the development of wildlife ranching and its trajectory in shifting the conservation narratives. The forcible incorporation of the African population into the Western capitalist system, through expropriation of land and implementation of fences, became a critical part of the enclosure of wildlife from the commons into that market economy system as well. This chapter argues that the observed trend in the development of wildlife ranching contributed to the redefinition of nature and wilderness as part of a broad economic policy. Recently, there has been a push in southern Africa to implement people‐centered policies to mainstream the majority population into the wildlife economy. To do so, southern Africa should embrace an inclusive conservation that focuses on putting indigenous communities at the forefront of conservation efforts by empowering them to take charge of natural resources.
In the process of developing new conservation policies, policymakers must have access to information which will inform their decisions. Evidence rarely considers the complexities of social-ecological systems. The Social-Ecological Systems Framework (SESF) is an adaptable yet structured approach for understanding the processes that lead to changes in natural resources, using a systems-based approach that aims to treat ecological and social components equally. Few conservation planning and policy initiatives have implemented the SESF to assess the interlinked social and ecological consequences of conservation policies. We apply the SESF to explore the barriers to the potential implementation of a policy of consumptive utilisation of wildlife in Kenya, a policy regarded as successful in several southern African countries. Using secondary data and expert review we developed a conceptual model of the social-ecological system associated with consumptive utilisation of wildlife in Kenya. We then analysed how different combinations of first and second-tier variables interacted to create focal action situations, and subsequently identified seven barriers to this policy. Our analysis revealed that game ranching would require large-scale investment in effective monitoring systems, new regulations, training, market development and research, considerations about equity, and devolved ownership of wildlife. The least barriers existed for game farming. The SESF appears to be a useful framework for this purpose. In particular, it can help to reveal potential social and ecological barriers which conservation policies might face in attempting to meet intended goals. The information required to implement the SESF are necessarily cross-disciplinary, which can make it challenging to synthesise.
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Conservation tourism is a rapidly growing subsector of ecotourism that engages paying volunteers as active participants in conservation projects. Once the preserve of charities, the sector now hosts a proliferation of private companies seeking to make money by selling international conservation work to tourists as a commodity. The commodification of conservation depends upon balancing the scientific legitimacy of projects against the need to offer desirable tourist experiences. Drawing on interviews with UK tour operators and their counterparts in South Africa who run the conservation projects, we explore the transnational geography of commercial conservation tourism, charting how scientific legitimacy is constructed and negotiated within the industry. Although conservation tourism makes trade-offs between scientific rigor and neoliberal market logic, it is a partial and plural process that resists simple categorization. We conclude by considering the difference that commodification makes to conservation science, and vice versa.
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This paper analyses key achievements, gaps, constraints and opportunities within South Africa's biodiversity sector since the Rio Earth Summit in 1992, and some of the difficult trade-offs faced in attempting to marry the country's pressing development needs with those of conservation. A suite of diverse issues is examined, including threats to biodiversity, such as those from habitat transformation, alien invasive species, overexploitation and genetic engineering; the difficulties of 'mainstreaming' biodiversity at all levels of planning and decision-making; and strategies for conservation and development such as protected area management, transfrontier conservation areas, community-based management, wildlife tourism and bioprospecting. Attention is also paid to commercializing South Africa's biodiversity, exploiting traditional knowledge, the current state of funding, and the status of knowledge, research and information about biodiversity in the country. The past ten years have witnessed profound paradigm shifts in conservation in South Africa: from a strictly protectionist approach, towards one that recognizes the need to use biodiversity sustainably and to involve the community in conservation. Despite remarkable achievements since the Earth Summit - including the development of a widely accepted national policy on biodiversity and an expansion of the country's protected areas - biodiversity loss continues, with South Africa having the highest known concentration of threatened plants in the world. Few of the priorities for implementation listed in. the 1997 Biodiversity White Paper have received adequate attention. Serious constraints preclude more effective management of the country's biodiversity: these include insufficient skills, expertise and funding, legal fragmentation, the inadequate integration of biodiversity considerations into sectoral and land-use plans, and weak political commitment. Redress requires us urgently to adopt a uniform and progressive legislative framework for biodiversity conservation and use; develop a national strategy and action plan for biodiversity; and 'mainstream' biodiversity into existing development and environmental planning. Also needed are clear, unambiguous criteria and principles for quantifying biodiversity loss in the long term against socio-economic gains in the short to medium term. Success requires political commitment and leadership.
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Proposing the use of charismatic species of large mammals as a conservation tool is often controversial, even though the Conservation of Biological Diversity promotes sustainable use as one of its three pillars. Indeed, sustainable use has been important in helping to recover southern white rhinos, the South African population of which was downlisted in 1994 to Appendix II of CITES for trophy hunting and live sales only. The Appendix I listed black rhino is now also beginning to recover, particularly in South Africa and Namibia, where how best to deal with surplus males arising from successful biological management is an increasing problem. Furthermore, black rhinos are now being increasingly moved to private land, where incentives from use may help help promote metapopulation management goals. As a result, the African Rhino Specialist Group anticipated proposals to trophy hunt black rhinos, and were concerned to recommend criteria that proponent countries would need to meet for such proposals to succeed. These recommendations address four guiding principles: •ensuring that any offtakes are biologically sustainable and based on good monitoring;•ensuring that incentives from any hunting opportunities are maximized, without discriminating between state agencies and the private sector;•rewarding good biological management and long-term commitment to black rhino conservation; and•ensuring that appropriate internal and external controls are in place.
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In this paper I examine the role of members of the British aristocracy in the movement to create national parks in colonial Africa. Aristocratic hunter preservationists established the Society for the Preservation of the Fauna of the Empire (SPFE) and used their access to the Colonial Office to help direct colonial conservation policies. Focusing on the Earl of Onslow, SPFE president from 1926–1945, I suggest that the aristocratic experience with the landscape of rural England influenced conservationists' ideas for preserving an idealized wild Africa. I explore the ways in which social and cultural constructions of African nature embodied by the SPFE's proposals reflected and helped to legitimate British imperialist ideology. Ultimately, the history of aristocratic involvement in conservation is critical to understanding the development of an institutional global nature-preservation movement.
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A shift from pastoralism to game farming has been identified in South Africa since the 1980s. In some cases it has been the objective of private landowners to diversify their operations by running game-based ventures in tandem with stock-farming activities. In other cases, private landowners have removed all stock and replaced it with game. Quantitative data on private land use trends are limited, and this study aimed to determine the spatial extent and distribution of privately owned game farms, as well as conservancies, in the STEP project planning domain. The results have shown that the post-1996 period has experienced an unprecedented increase in game based operations. Currently, 2.5% of the 116 500 km2 study area has converted entirely from stock to game farming. A total of 41 game species was recorded on the 63 game farms surveyed. Most farmers expressed a positive attitude towards game farming and are trying to implement conservation measures. However, many of them have been stock farmers their whole lives and therefore their approach to game farming might be skewed towards principles applied in stock farming. The present study found that the main activity, for which game is utilised, on both game farms and conservancies, is hunting and this includes both recreational and trophy hunting. The foreign ecotourist and the hunting market have been strong driving forces behind the introduction of extra-limital species in this region. Farmers were of the opinion that the satisfaction of both tourists and hunters was based on the diversity of species rather than on their ecology and biogeography.
The last decade has seen a considerable increase in the area of land devoted to wildlife in South Africa. In this chapter we argue that this has been driven by economic rather than conservation reasons. A strong local and overseas market within the right political and legal framework have made game ranching an economically attractive proposition for many landowners in certain areas of South Africa such as Maputaland. An obstacle to the creation of game ranches is the large sum of initial capital required for the acquisition of game and the erection of fences and other infrastructure. This chapter provides four case studies on how this problem was overcome. Shareblock schemes provide one method for raising the required capital. This method has had a significant impact on the growth of game ranching in South Africa and so the schemes are discussed in some detail. The use of mathematical models have contributed to the optimal utilisation of capital in the set-up phase of a game ranch and in determining management strategies to maximise sustainable income. A case study is provided where this approach was used to calculate an optimal mix of species. Another mathematical model then generated the sequence of purchases and acquisitions of game that minimise total net capital outflow during the set-up period. This minimisation enabled the optimal sustainable populations to be attained within three years taking into account ecological constraints and the limited availability of some species. The model output also includes a detailed cash flow statement for the set-up period.
ABSTRACT People construct fences to delineate land ownership and to control access to land. Fences accomplish several purposes, notable among them are containing livestock or wildlife raised for profit or subsistence, excluding use of vegetation within areas to be conserved, and reducing conflicts between wildlife and humans. In addition to these intended purposes, fences may also offer unanticipated benefits, such as vegetation within hedgerow fences providing cover to wildlife, or grazing by confined herbivores promoting native flora. However, because fences limit mobility of large herbivores, fenced areas become fragments within the landscape, sometimes with undesirable results. We review of the positive and negative consequences of fencing landscape patches for large herbivores, using examples from livestock production and wildlife conservation. Fences allow grazing to be controlled, to control grazing intensity or rest parcels. Fences may entangle or electrocute herbivores, truncate migratory routes, excise important resources needed by large herbivores, and allow resident herbivore populations to become too high and harm vegetation. More subtly, fencing parcels may reduce the carrying capacity of a landscape, irrespective of habitat loss. Eliminating access to heterogeneous forage patches within a landscape reduces options available to herbivores or their herders, both at a given time and across seasons. Normalized difference vegetation indices, derived from satellite images and reflecting green vegetation biomass, are used to suggest potential effects of fencing upon herbivore stocking rates. Ecosystem modeling quantified the decrease in herbivore stocking rate as a 300 km, parcels, 19% fewer cattle could be supported, compared to the block being unfenced.
Conservation may require political change to trust those who use the land.
This short review summarises research and key debates in the conservation and management of wildlife, biodiversity and valued environments in Africa. It is broadly grounded in a political ecology approach, and indicates the importance of considering ways in which power and meanings conferred on the landscape play out in the realm of conservation. The review highlights the paradigm shift that has occurred in thinking about African environments and shows how this has shaped approaches to conservation. It considers factors that influenced the origin of conservation initiatives in Africa, including the preservation of game for hunting and the establishment of national parks in the United States. The shift from an early fortress conservation model to later community conservation approaches is traced and a summary of the critique of community conservation with a analysis of the CAMPFIRE programme in Zimbabwe, is presented. More recently the conservation agenda seems to have turned towards transfrontier conservation. The conclusion cautions that despite the weight of critical analyses of community conservation, its abandonment would be somewhat premature and potentially detrimental to desirable conservation and development outcomes.