Anyone who doubts that sustainable hunting is a heaven-sent solution for wild game and habitat protection doesn't know enough about the subject. Complex problems need intelligent solutions. Intelligent solutions include bringing together all stakeholders and devising a strategy that benefits everyone. Those in the fight to preserve Africa's natural habitats, which support an incredible diversity of life, are passionate, and most agree that sustainable hunting, at the very least, aids the cause.
The delicate balance of life connects every person, place, and thing on Earth. Life sustains life. There is a constant battle over the limited and often scarce resources available. Human beings, through adaptability, innovation, and technology, can grow, make, and build most of what they need to survive. Animals cannot. Their very existence hinges on the food chain they rely on within their natural habitat.
Food, water, shelter, and space are the necessary ingredients needed for survival. Whether an animal can survive in a habitat depends on the amount and distribution of these elements. Each species has its requirements, and miraculously, mother nature provides everything they need. In a pristine natural habitat, every aspect comes together to do its part to support life. Game ranches offer that sanctuary for animals to live as nature intended. The animals are protected from poachers and through a logical cycle of selective hunting, the herds and the eco-system flourish.
The increase in human population equals a decrease in natural habitat. It happens all over the world and in all types of environments. The more people, the more they need, the more they take away from nature. Undeveloped land is especially vulnerable because large animals need a lot of food and a lot of space. Without these things, it is hard for them to survive.
The issue of shrinking wildlife habitat and species extinction was a widely discussed topic in the 1960s. Prof. Jane Carruthers from the University of South Africa's Department of History, researched and extensively detailed how the rise of the modern livestock industry in Africa had detrimental effects for the once large herds of game. As noted in her 1964 book, Farming the Wild or Wilding the Farm, the game population in Africa was less than 557,000. Creating game ranches was hailed as the ultimate solution to protecting and ensuring the survival of dwindling game numbers.
When Professor Carruthers wrote about the fast-spreading encroachment on wild habitats in Africa, there were only three game ranches in Africa. Today, there are almost ten thousand. As of 2005, the game headcount rose to over 18 million. The increased numbers were a direct result of the smart management of natural habitats for those species and an increase in wildlife game ranches.
Despite almost losing rhinos to extinction in the 1800s, the illegal trade of rhino horn that leads to the brutal poaching of the species is now a new threat to their survival. Thankfully private wildlife sanctuaries, such as Rockwood Conservation, who protects 300+ rhinos with 100 calves being born under their guard, are doing everything they can to tackle the crisis head on.
Not only do game farms protect wild species, but they also preserve the local human population. These ranches provide better skills training and larger salaries to their employees than domestic livestock farming. People who live in these areas would be more impoverished if it weren't for the game ranches because of the lack of other opportunities to earn a living in their area.
Successful game ranches improve the quality of life of locals and their families.
While game ranches serve a noble purpose; preserving precious natural habitats and the animals that live there, they need to be sustainable.
That means managing the population of species and funding. Hunting does both and is a proven means of keeping vast expanses of land wild and free of development. Game ranches offer an unrivalled experienced for those who enjoy the adventure and sport of hunting. By creating the opportunity for sportsmen and sportswomen from around the world to experience the grandeur of Africa and the excitement of fair chase hunting, game ranches have become a smart eco-centric business opportunity.
No matter your standpoint, please join the healthy and civil debate and share your opinions, concerns and insights with us.
We’ve put together an article from our own research and experience to help facilitate the conversation, click here and let us know your view.
Only by understanding both sides of the argument can we move forward to the ultimate goal – valuing and conserving nature.