Hunting banned in Botswana

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Hunting banned in Botswana

Postby Sfourie » Wed Nov 07, 2012 12:54 pm

Extraordinary bad news. Botswana’s president Ian Khama has announced that all hunting in Botswana will be banned from 2013. It comes as a result of Ian Khama associating with the IFAW and Prof Rudi van Aarde (Of Elephant – Facts and Fables fame). This is the same president who has supported Prof Rudi van Aarde’s no interference management policies and whose country is subsequently turning into a desert, a management plan that has also seen 11 large mammal species decline by 60% and the Chobe Bushbuck become locally extinct in the Chobe National Park. This is the same professor who claims that the Kruger National Park’s elephants are having no negative effect on large avian species such as the Southern Ground Hornbill yet leading ornithologists are seen erecting artificial nesting sites across Kruger! This is the same professor who is yearly sponsored more than R800 000 to support and promote their ideals.

Money can buy you a degree but apparently it cannot buy you honesty, integrity, a responsibility to manage wildlife for the benefit of all species and lastly simple COMMON SENSE!
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Re: Hunting banned in Botswana

Postby kinghero » Wed Nov 07, 2012 1:08 pm

Not to start a war here, but purely out of ignorance, What will the short and long term effects be, obviously it will have an negative economical effect for them, But I couldn't really care less about that. My Question is more towards habitat and animals?

My thinking is this that surely if you stop hunting "For a while it will give chance for numbers to climb again ? how ever you wouldn't want it to keep on climbing and becoming over populated?

Interesting, cant wait for your response.
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Re: Hunting banned in Botswana

Postby Jamster » Wed Nov 07, 2012 2:00 pm

The problem is that as soon as you stop hunting, you stop controlling the numbers. As soon as you dont have control of the number of animals, you cant control how much vegitation they consume.

It eventually gets to a point where the animals in the area damage the vegitaion so much that erosion takes place leading to infertile soil and desertification. In other words eventually the animals themselves end up suffering.
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Re: Hunting banned in Botswana

Postby Sfourie » Wed Nov 07, 2012 2:58 pm

You’d assume so but you’d likely be wrong. Kenya who banned hunting 1977 assumed the same and their wildlife has declined by 60 – 70%. The ban on hunting in Kenya was also the result of animal rights group’s campaigns.

Hunting contributes far more to conservation than is perceived. In fact hunting is regarded by many in the wildlife industry as the biggest and most successful conservation project in the African continent.

This is because hunting has given wildlife commercial value. This commercial value has ensured that people take better care of their wildlife and their habitats. In S.A. more than 7x the amount of wildlife that occurs in our National Parks are found outside their borders on farms/ranches where hunting occurs. Were it not for the financial support of the hunters neither this wildlife nor their homes would exist. It is important to realize that the term wildlife does not just include impala, kudu or warthog but a multitude of other species, genera’s, families, orders, classes, phylum’s and kingdoms.

If hunting was not allowed to occur in Africa many habitats and all the species that they support would have been completely destroyed for agricultural development. This undoubtedly would have led to several more animal species becoming extinct. Was it not Steve Irwin that always said the biggest threat to all wildlife is the destruction of their habitat?

What are the implications for Botswana? As per the CAMPFIRE project half of the meat of every animal that has been hunted is to be donated to the communities in the wildlife areas. The trophy fees are also used to help with infrastructure and health care. These communities are not allowed to keep livestock because of the potential for diseases such as the Foot-and-mouth, bovine tuberculosis to spread. The meat supplied by hunters are these peoples only source of meat. How will they get their meat now? In order to survive they will be forced to poach. It’s called subsistence poaching and it is the most common form of poaching across the continent.

Always remember hunting is regulated and controlled. Species numbers and habitat carrying capacities are taken into account before seasonal quotas are established. Usually male animals past their reproductive use are selected to hunt. Hunting therefore does not present a threat to the future survival of any species today. Poaching is not controlled and it is random. Accounts of female animals with dependant young or pregnant females being poached is rife. Poaching therefore does represent a major threat to the future survival of our wildlife.

To support Jamster and add further tarnish to Prof Rudi van Aarde. One of the first lessons in wildlife management is that of Wildlife Management Priorities:

The first priority is for the soil. Without soil plants cannot grow. It may take up to a 1000 years for 25 cm of topsoil to form but it can be washed away in one rainstorm.

The second priority is for the plants. They are the earth’s only energy producers. Further more they provide cover for the soil, defusing the kinetic energy of a rain drop before it hits the ground.

The last priority is for the animals.

In 1972 – 1973, 65 000 elephant and over 5000 black rhinos died in the Tsavo National Park because this lesson was ignored by David Sheldrick, the Game Warden in charge.

It is ABC’s of wildlife management. Yet Prof van Aarde ignores this lessons value, why? Because he is being paid by the IFAW (an animal rights organization) to support and promote their ideals.

Regards

Stefan
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Re: Hunting banned in Botswana

Postby kinghero » Wed Nov 07, 2012 3:07 pm

Cool, it makes scenes what you guys are saying.
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Re: Hunting banned in Botswana

Postby Ryuu » Wed Nov 07, 2012 6:07 pm

Its strange But true. I have a Few Uncles With Game farms.. and they take great care of their animals and Land.. Witch intern increases the population of other species. There are Exceptions though.. as with anything in life..

I think we can all agree that untouched land is one of the most important things we should care for.. as Sfourie said.
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Re: Hunting banned in Botswana

Postby Bushviper » Wed Nov 07, 2012 6:16 pm

The only way this can work is if we break down all the fences including the ones separating the countries. Then we need to get rid of all the humans and only then will any normal balance be restored. If wildlife is not managed it will be left to die. No migration routes are left for these animals and the killing of predators will ensure disease and over grazing will eventually kill all forms of wildlife.
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Re: Hunting banned in Botswana

Postby kinghero » Wed Nov 07, 2012 6:25 pm

I remember on one of my ex girl friends game farm ( I was in High school ) they would tie a jack russel to the tree were they found the freshest tracks of I think leopard and then camp out, That dog would cry and whelp because it smells the urine, either way they would wait till it was close and either kill it or catch and release it ( the catch part didn't happen that often ) as the roaming area is to large and a fence doesn't keep them in.

I found this extremely sad, however they did have a female with cubs that they let be, you could get really close with the land-rover before she would move and they were gorgeous.

Not really on subject but thought I would share.
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Re: Hunting banned in Botswana

Postby Davidc » Wed Nov 07, 2012 10:31 pm

Not to start a argument but please do no assume that hunting and wildlife management is the same thing. Botswana may have many problems but it is one of the better run neighbouring states with very little if any corruption. And apparently this ban is only applicable to state owned land.
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Re: Hunting banned in Botswana

Postby Sfourie » Thu Nov 08, 2012 6:18 pm

Daividc, I do not assume that hunting is wildlife management, it is a wildlife management strategy and a damn successful one at that. It is only because of the uninformed perceptions formed by the public, who prefer to classify wildlife management strategies on a like and dislike basis, that its value to conservation has remained misunderstood or completely ignored.

The expected outcomes of hunting as a wildlife management tool are not dissimilar to the expected outcomes of culling i.e. to keep the animal numbers below the ecological carrying capacity of the habitat. If a habitat’s ecological carrying capacity is exceeded the habitat will start to degrade. This will lower the ecological carrying capacity. Read the wildlife management priorities above. This makes perfect wildlife management sense!

In areas where there is not intense predation there may be too many males. The males will fight with each other to such an extent that little or no mating takes place. Remember males leave the maternal herds to either become solitary or form smaller bachelor herds this makes them more prone to predation. The male to female ratio may be 1:1 at birth but after just a couple of years this may be 1:4/5. Hunters more often than not select old animals that have passed on their genes, thus leaving the path open for the males who are still reductively active. This also makes perfect wildlife management sense.

As said before it is the commercial value of wildlife that has ensured their protection and that of their habitat and all the other species of fauna and flora in them. Hunting is many times more profitable than culling. For example let’s take a Kudu bull. An average Kudu bull has a live weight of 300 kg. Dressed carcass (innards, head, skin and hooves removed) weight will then be about 170 kg. Of that weight 40% will be skeletal weight. You should get around 90kg of meat of out of that Kudu bull. The average price of meat is around R30 per kg. Let’s also sell the skin for which you will probably receive R250 – 300. In total a culled kudu bull will bring in around R3000. Now if you would want to have your kudu bull hunted it would be considered cheap at R4500 – R5000. Average price is closer to R6000 – R7000 (R15 000 in some places if not more. Day rates of about R300 per day are also applicable). This money can be used to upgrade fences, build water holes, reintroduce game species that used to inhabit the area or manage your animals’ genetic diversity by introducing animals of the same species from elsewhere. This once again makes perfect wildlife management sense!

Earlier this year a rhino was hunted in KZN Hluwluwe. In fact back in 2004 CITES granted both South Africa and Namibia permission to hunt 5 black rhinos a year so long as the rhinos hunted were past their reproductive use. In rhino society two thirds of all the bulls will be dominant bulls with well defined territories. The other third is called “satellite bulls” and their presence in dominant bulls territories are tolerated as long as they remain submissive. When a rhino is usurped and loses his territory at an old age his days are numbered. All the bulls including the satellite bulls will continuously attack him. Hluwluwe received R960 000 for their rhino. This money is used by the reserve (presumably) to upgrade their fences, increase anti-poaching methods, introduce new rhinos to preserve their genetic diversity etc. This too makes perfect wildlife management sense.

Wildlife Management strategies such as hunting should not be classified on a like and dislike by the public but rather on a basis of what works and what does not. We as a forum advocate the use of education to change people’s perceptions in regards to reptiles particularly snakes. We give them all the relevant information and allow them to form an educated perception. As such, we should apply this to all facets of life, not just for what is convenient.

If it is your consensus that hunting has no value as a wildlife management strategy then I wonder whether you have taken all the relevant facts into account. Please do not take offence from my post, this is in no way meant to be an attack on you.

Regards

Stefan
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Re: Hunting banned in Botswana

Postby Davidc » Thu Nov 08, 2012 8:27 pm

Hi Stefan,
You are spot on. My stance is not against hunting at all. In fact I shot 2 beautiful buck this year and still have loads of biltong and dry wors in my freezer. All I tried to highlight is that not all hunting is about controlling or managing herds, population or sustainabillity.

I do have a gripe with KZN Wildlife that gets orders from the Zulu king and Hippo, Lion etc get "hunted" for him. The latest being a hippo that was supposed to be re located but instead kept in a boma for 6 weeks before being killed for the Reed dance.

Regards
David
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Re: Hunting banned in Botswana

Postby armata » Sat Nov 10, 2012 12:21 pm

The hunting and conservation fraternity need to counteract the emotional drivel displayed by such as Born Free and the Sheldrick Foundation. The recent photo in FB of a little girl with a rifle standing over a magnificient male lion will always win hearts and minds. You also have to think of the terminology - 'trophy hunting' will always raise hackles; even though we know that many old animals that have to be culled make good trophies.
The concept of hunting with regard to management, conservation and biodiversity needs to be portrayed in a way that the public at large can understand. I am aware that emotion is different than sentiment. Anyone, hunter or otherwise, is saddened to see an elephant or rhino fall - but its always for a reason i.e. the bigger picture.

I do have one gripe however. When I am driving along Route 62 and I see Giraffe and Nyala looking at me. These species in fynbos and succulent Karoo? The reason I am given is that the public expect to see them. As far as I am concerned its a zoo, lots of open area, but still a zoo.
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Re: Hunting banned in Botswana

Postby Jamster » Tue Nov 13, 2012 11:17 am

Im not sure if many of you are familiar with the term, metapopulations. Im sure Stefan is ;)

Metapopulations are many small populations in different protected areas. This is a usefull tool in conseravtion as it can increase genetic diversity IF THESE METAPOPULATIONS ARE INTERCONNECTED. This is such an important issue that in some or other part of europe they are planning innercity pathways for wolves to migrate through the cities in order to facilitate a constant flow of genes between disjunct populations of wolves. Obviously this is all theory and unfortunately I cant remember where exactly this is planned for.

Instead of having all these large enclosed parks in Southern Africa they should create literal fauna highways between protected areas and gamefarms thus allowing for animals to interbreed, choose the environment in which they wish to live and it would also be easy to track the movement of animals between these areas along the highways as well as facilitate natural migration of grazing herbivores. Obviously there will be some difficulty with ownership of the animals but this work for national parks accross southern africa.

Just my opinion really. If you disagree, then voice your opinion.
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Re: Hunting banned in Botswana

Postby MrG » Tue Nov 13, 2012 12:24 pm

It would be interesting to hear it from the other side as well. :)
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Re: Hunting banned in Botswana

Postby Sfourie » Fri Nov 16, 2012 7:17 pm

Sorry David. Completely misunderstood your post.

The point that you and Kinghero have made is that when an animal is killed it should be done in humane and ethical manner. It is easier to understand what ethics is than to understand what is ethical (If you understand what I am trying to say). It may be considered ethical by an individual hunter to hunt Lion over bait but another hunter would consider it more ethical to hunt a Lion that had been pre-bred for hunting and released into a 400ha area (commonly known as canned hunting). Ethical standards has divided and fragmented hunters and made them more susceptible to attacks from animal rightists. The issue of ethics is not new to this forum and has recently been re-highlighted by Herald_23. As such I will only say the following: As a hunter you have a responsibility towards the animal that you are hunting to put it down as quickly, efficiently and cleanly as possible and to do so in line with your own ethical standards (If you do not consider it ethical to shoot an animal near the water then do not do so). My own preparations for next years hunting season began last weekend and it is my hope after I had wounded an animal for the first time in 3 years that it will not happen again.

Very well said Armata. One of the biggest threats to wildlife is an uneducated public wanting to dictate how wildlife is managed. People tend to form perceptions without having all the relevant facts at hand, something we reptile enthusiasts can collectively agree is a bad thing. The media adds further fuel to this emotional driven fire by distorting facts. People are against hunting either because they consider it cruel or because they consider it a threat to the future survival of wildlife. Both of these concerns have proven been proven to be invalid. Wildlife management strategies are classified on a like and not like basis instead of what best preserves the biodiversity of any specific area.

Yes Jamster, I have heard of the metapopulations idea. I first heard of it when I worked through Prof van Aarde’s Elephant Facts and Fables module (Sponsored for free to all WildlifeCampus and EcoTraining students by the IFAW). I would like nothing more to see large stretches of wilderness restored and migratory routes reopened. The area for which this metapopulations strategy is being planned will be named the Kavango Zambezi Transfontier conservation area. Countries involved are Angola, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Zambia. But as with any wildlife management strategy there are some valid concerns being raised.

1.) If we cannot effectively combat poaching in an area as small as KNP, how can we combat it over the huge area specified?

As an aside. Ron Thomson sent me his speech from the South African Hunters Association’s AGM (PM me your email address if you are interested to read it). In his speech he proposes that the Parks should integrate their own needs with the needs of the communities surrounding the Park (These people used to live in the Parks before being forcefully removed). It is a great idea and I have read of a similar idea integrated in Gona-re-zhou when John Osborne was Warden in charge. Like I said PM me if you want the full speech.

2.) People tend to underestimate the extent of to which elephants are over populated. Botswana could sustain 7500 elephants back in 1960 when scientists first reported that elephants were irreparably damaging the riverine habitats. Botswana is now home to an estimated 190 000 elephants. Zimbabwe is home to 85 000 elephants (Ron Thomson reported elephant damage as early as the 1960’s in Hwange National Park. Currently this Park is 1500% overstocked). The habitats in both these countries have degraded to such an extent that their ecological carrying capacities have been dramatically reduced. Even if these areas were to interconnect there is no guarantee it will work as an alternative to culling.

KNP tried a similar project with Mozambique. Whilst camping in Letaba I spoke to an honorary ranger who told me that when KNP lowered their fences between themselves and Mozambique, that the habitats in Mozambique were already so degraded that it has had no effect on reducing habitat damage in KNP. The greater poaching pressure from Mozambique also forced elephants that did move into Mozambique back into KNP.

3.) If you were to be the proud owner of a stretch of beautiful bushveld whose land is being earmarked to join this massive conservation area, what would your main concerns be? When the areas adjacent to KNP that had previously been fenced decided to remove their boundary fences and join the Greater Kruger National Park they forgot about writing a common wildlife policy. Now a management policy can only be approved with the unanimous approval every single owner. An owner who had previously managed his wildlife in accordance with the Wildlife Management Priorities can now only watch his habitats degrading and biodiversity decreasing. Will the same happen here?

Personally I feel it is a plan dreamed up by Van Aarde’s ilk in an effort to avoid culling and satisfy the public.

Regards

Stefan
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