W­he­re will we hunt in ten y­e­ars’ti­me?

SA Jagter Hunter - - INHOUD - By LI­ZAN­NE NEL

Whi­le you en­joy­ed being c­lo­se to na­tu­re du­ring your last hun­ting ex­pe­di­ti­on, did you for one mo­ment think this may not be pos­si­ble in the ne­ar fu­tu­re? My guess is you did not. Most of us are to­tal­ly u­na­wa­re of the ra­pid ra­te at which de­ve­lop­ment and unsus­tai­na­ble use are trans­for­ming the re­mai­ning ex­ten­si­ve wild­li­fe a­re­as in South A­fri­ca and with that the re­ducti­on of hun­ting op­por­tu­ni­ties. It is very ea­sy to f­or­get a­bout in­ves­ting in our fu­tu­re whi­le we are still bles­sed with the gif­ts of na­tu­re.

Ex­ten­si­ve wild­li­fe a­re­as do not on­ly sus­tain re­spon­si­ble hun­ting, but al­so pro­vi­de e­cosy­stem ser­vi­ces such as wa­ter, cli­ma­te and di­se­a­se con­t­rol, nu­trient cy­cling and crop pol­li­na­ti­on, as well as spi­ri­tu­al and re­cre­a­ti­o­nal be­ne­fits, in­clu­ding eco-tou­rism.

Whil­st it is a con­sti­tu­ti­o­nal rig­ht to ha­ve our wild­li­fe he­ri­ta­ge pro­tected, we ha­ve to ackno­w­led­ge that ma­ny pe­op­le in the coun­try are fa­ced with po­ver­ty and u­nem­ploy­ment. Go­vern­ment has a re­spon­si­bi­li­ty to ad­dress the­se pe­op­le’s needs. In the pro­cess, com­pe­ti­ti­on for land is in­cre­a­sing and the p­res­su­re on the re­mai­ning na­tu­ral a­re­as has ne­ver been as high as it is now. As a de­ve­lo­ping coun­try, we ur­gent­ly need so­lu­ti­ons to ad­dress the­se e­co­no­mic and so­ci­al pres­su­res, whil­st se­cu­ring wild­li­fe a­re­as not on­ly for us, but al­so for our child­ren.

Re­se­arch by the South A­fri­can Na­ti­o­nal Bi­o­di­ver­si­ty In­s­ti­tu­te has sho­wn that at the cur­rent ra­te of lan­du­se c­han­ge, three of our pro­vin­ces mig­ht not ha­ve any ex­ten­si­ve wild­li­fe a­re­as left (outside of pro­tected a­re­as) by 2050. That mig­ht hap­pen in K­waZu­lu-Na­tal in less than 20 y­e­ars. This pla­ces a re­spon­si­bi­li­ty on the SAHGCA (SA Hun­ters) to i­den­ti­fy the pro­blems or ris­ks that can wor­sen this t­rend. Ris­ks in­clu­de dis­in­ves­t­ment in ex­ten­si­ve ga­me ran­ching and mo­ving to in­ten­si­ve bree­ding of wild­li­fe in a­gri­cul­tu­ral ty­pe pro­ducti­on sy­s­tems. We thus ha­ve to act quick­ly to en­s­u­re the fu­tu­re ex­is­ten­ce of ex­ten­si­ve wild­li­fe sy­s­tems.

BI­O­DI­VER­SI­TY ECONOMY NODES

With both con­ser­va­ti­on and re­spon­si­ble wild­li­fe use as ob­jecti­ves, SA Hun­ters part­ne­red with E­zem­velo KZN Wild­li­fe in de­ve­lo­ping an in­no­va­ti­ve stra­tegy to ad­dress the­se chal­len­ges. The stra­tegy en­tails the es­ta­blishment of Bi­o­di­ver­si­ty Economy Nodes (BENs) that act as s­tra­te­gic vehi­cles to a­chie­ve e­co­no­mic, so­ci­al and en­vi­ron­men­tal ob­jecti­ves through an in­te­gra­ted lan­du­se plan­ning pro­cess.

BENs u­ti­li­se the e­co­no­mic de­ve­lop­ment po­ten­ti­al of our wild­li­fe and cul­tu­ral he­ri­ta­ge, to cre­a­te vi­brant wild­li­fe-ba­sed e­co­no­mic de­ve­lop­ment nodes in ru­ral dry-land e­cosys­tems, w­he­re ot­her land u­ses may be vi­a­ble. Co­re con­ser­va­ti­on a­re­as will be lin­ked with ot­her wild­li­fe a­re­as un­der man-

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