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Bugs last won the day on January 30 2013

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About Bugs

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  1. I forgot to add the link to the study where it showed the level of bushmeat poaching prior to the hunting ban. You can download the study here. Look on page 5. that shows a 15 or 20 fold increase in bushmeat poaching. That most certainly isn't something to celebrate and a country mile from any claims of success.
  2. Predictable. Trade bans don't work. How long will it take to figure this out?
  3. I find the recent switch of supply to Laos since the big burn and the Chinese ban on ivory very similar to what happened when China clamped down on rhino horn. The market simply gets more embedded in the criminal supply chain. The ivory burn publicity stunt has been a criminal waste of a resource and has only made the situation worse. I hope that one day the people who have done this will be held accountable.
  4. As I said - it's easier said than done. The concept may sound good and I am sure many people have donated money to this project, but I am yet to be convinced that its practical at all.
  5. @offshorebirder , I honestly don't know enough to predict anything. There are many forces at work, and that's why I like the article so much as it gives a detailed analysis, and makes an effort to understand many of those forces at work. What happens next is anyone's guess, but it doesn't look good. Please share the article as much as possible. There is a good reason why the writer doesn't want to be named.
  6. I concur with @Sangeeta . If you really care, then go and visit the area. The loss of the dogs and the influx of the invaders should be a good reason to give them some support. If Sangeeta is a tour operator, I am sure she could offer you a multitude of other alternatives and you are welcome to book your stay at Laikipia through another agent. So I cant see the relevance of drawing a facebook squabble to this platform and trying to claim that her sadness for this tragedy is because of personal interest.
  7. I read these bee studies with interest. We are trying to do something similar, but finding a number of practical issues. Like where do you get the bees for example? We have hung perfect little hives on various trees hoping that the bees will come and make themselves at home. With very little success. Other ways to protect trees is to surround them with sharp stones. We have also tried chilli spray and playing bee sounds. I am not saying that it doesn't work, but that it's far cheaper and easier to use conventional methods.
  8. Are you for real? It sounds as if you are hoping for something bad to happen in Kruger for some reason. You then persist with an attack on a number member for no apparent reason. I remember that Dr Clay reported a pack that went missing during a distemper outbreak in Maun. I have also heard that similar outbreaks have hurt the Madikwe and the Hluhluwe population. But closer to home, our reserve in Botswana had an outbreak of rabies and our dog pack went from 33 to 7 in the space of a few days. They say that sometimes mongoose are carriers. But the good news is that the numbers recover very quickly and the 7 went to 17 in a very short space in time. We subsequently sterilized our breeding dog, to prevent the numbers getting too high, and we also inoculated most the remaining dogs. Once they have moved the invaders out, I am pretty sure that will be able to source more dogs for re-introduction. The true concern here is how easy it is for wildlife habitat to be lost, and how difficult it is to get back. Lets hope they are able to sort out the issue with invaders. BTW - I have a great explanation about the land invasions here - The cattle barons of Kenya
  9. Here is a little anecdotal information from my last trip to Botswana. There are clearly may concession standing vacant. My cousin is trying to get one such concession and to justify it with eco-tourism. His motives are completely philanthropic, and we chatted for a while about how he plans to do it. The concession is around a million hectares, and there is much more land in Central Kalahari and around Ngamiland which is still in limbo. I wish my cousin all the success in the world, but I am afraid it's not looking promising. The boreholes are no longer functioning in these areas, and I also met a group who are trying to raise funds to keep these boreholes running. Many of these old concessions are now thinly patrolled by BDF, and poaching is on the rise. Botswana's growing poaching problem “Recent research predicts that about 600 tonnes of bush meat is smuggled out of this district monthly. I thought the research was over exaggerated but judging by the recent trends, 600 tonnes may be nothing,” Blackbeard said. That's 600 tonnes monthly - as opposed to 200 tonnes annually before the ban. I don't want to go into too much detail, but the obvious tourist areas are as yet unaffected by the increase in poaching. Botswana has yet to replace the income lost from hunting through tourism. But even if they do, it simply means that more bed nights will be filled by the same tourist outfitters, and if need be, they simply expand their operation on the same land. They don't extend their operation to new lands. So the old concessions will still remain in limbo, and the poaching will continue. The worst part of this whole experiment is the deliberate lack of data before the ban and the lack of information since the ban. You would think that if the government thought that the ban would be a success, they would have had all the studies to prove it. But they are silent. If the ban were a success, they would be rubbing it in the faces of the people who opposed it. I do love Botswana, and although my inner voice warned me that the hunting ban was foolhardy, I did hope that Khama who seemed pretty committed would be able to make a success of it. The problem with a mistake of this magnitude is that the consequences can be permanent. Once wildlife is lost and people move in with, it's very difficult to get wildlife back again. Tourists never visited the hunting concessions, and will hence probably never miss them, so they may rejoice at their victory for now.
  10. I must say that I have watched this story erupt in social media, and somewhat perplexed by the vociferous and hateful comments from some people. On Saturday I lost a close friend who was a helicopter pilot doing crop spraying - so I am familiar with the term "occupational hazard", and can tell you that it does not mean "poetic justice". Most of these foreigners who comment haven't a cooking clue about conservation, and are somewhat hypocritical in their blood lust. I have met many professional hunters, and have yet to meet one who hasn't done pro-bona boots-on-the-ground anti poaching work. All of the professional hunters I have met, have a vast understanding of the mechanics of conservation and I have yet to meet one who isn't a conservationists at heart. They are just like the people on this forum, who have a passion for nature and love of the outdoors. What so many of these people fail to recognise is that a family has lost a loved one and a breadwinner. But also, that we have also lost a comrade in conservation. All these people who rub their hands and celebrate, claiming karma - should remember that wishing bad things on others should also invoke karma on themselves.
  11. Yes, I know he has worked for them, not sure if he still does or not. I am guessing that WildAid wont be too pleased with the article written. Perhaps he no longer works for them, as it alludes to mention that in his bio. Either way, I would like to congratulate him for his open mindedness and the effort he made to visit and learn about the ranching industry. I have never visited one of these auctions before, but know that they are frequented by the heavy hitters in the industry. Most wildlife ranchers simply stock their reserves through service providers, and many are not involved in high value wildlife. Possibly because the barrier to entry is so high. However the existence of the market sports far more than a number of privateers, it also is a useful way for tourism based reserves to get extra funds. Most of the big private reserves, like Phinda, Shamwari, Timbavati etc will get a little extra funds from game sales. State owned parks also sell surplus wildlife which means that the benefits can be had by everyone.
  12. Great report and interesting observations. I will include myself as another person who has yet to see a zorilla (african Polecat) alive.. I see plenty as roadkill.
  13. To add to this topic - Here is a recent article in the farmers weekly Cattle farmers learn how to farm game
  14. I am going to post this link here, because of the relevance to this debate. I had been saying repeatedly that there are no suitable release sites for the so called re-wilded lions bred in Antelope park. One can only imagine how many lions they have bred in this time and are yet to deliver a rehabilitated lion to the wild. The attachment shows a well known reserve in Zimbabwe - that claim to have the highest single population of lions offering 200 surplus lions to good homes. Of course the hypocrisy is that LionAid and Pieter Kat couldn't provide a solution, other than to bemoan the Bubye Valley for their hunting activities and suggest that they should have managed their lions better.. Surely - if you are managing your biodiversity well, you will produce surpluses, and even with the immense size of the conservancy, management is necessary.. Culling to Conserve: A hard Truth for lion conservation..
  15. Lets avoid this post from also being diverted by @@optig and lets see if we can have a sensible discussion. Firstly - I will admit that I have locked horns with Adam Welz before, and would like to congratulate him on making the effort to understand the wildlife industry, and for writing this fairly comprehensive article. I would recommend that Optig take time out to investigate the system in SA as he may find it enlightening. I have jotted down a few issues that I want to cover about his perceptions and experiences that he drew from this auction. Welz paints a picture of profiteering over wildlife - although there is a lot of money floating around, I must say that with my experience in the game farming industry, there is much more about "way of life". There are a number of elite and very shrewd ranchers who have made a fantastic and deserved success out of wildlife, but by far the majority are those who simply buy into wildlife ranching as a way of life. Most of these people subsidise their ranching through successful businesses, and dabble a little with the selective breeding and colour variants just to help pay the bills. The reality about colour variants is that very few hunters are interested in hunting a colour variant. However the perception that there is an ultimate better market for these markets has caused people to speculate on your variants. its been a bit of a pyramid scheme, and some people have made money - which is good anyway, as it all contributes to people becoming interested in farming wildlife.. Remember that most of the colour variant breeding is done on the side in smaller camps, and a the important part it the vast amounts of land that get protected outside those camps. Also since the colour variant market was always going to end, it was never much of a worry for me, as they will breed the colours out as fast as they breed them in. Cross breeding is another sore point within the wildlife ranching industry. But I know many ranchers have decided to keep their herds pure, because they know that when things change, their pure bred animals will be worth more because they are still pure. Cross breeding with bontebok and blesbok is an example. They have tightened the regulations and now only DNA tested Bontebok can be sold or moved. As a result the price of pure Bontebok shot up. In the game ranching industry the understanding of intensive and extensive are vastly different to that of domestic livestock. Domestic livestock traditionally involves feedlots and cramped conditions. Intensive game ranching may still involve camps, but those camps are often pretty large, and the animals get a substantial amount of freedom.. I had to point this one out, as the topic does trigger substantial debate. I am aware that pangolins are killed in electric fences, but it is indeed a rarity. In fact the presence of all these ranches and farms should have a net positive affect on pangolins, as opposed to a stock or crop farm. The issue of wiping out of predators is probably a little dramatic. Yes predators are often not tolerated, but generally better tolerated than a small stock farmer would. Many game ranchers would happily welcome a leopard or a python, as the loss of one or two animals wouldnt break their bank in that case. Most high value wildlife, is kept in smaller enclosures that are predator proof anyway.. Another point - about the racial exclusivity. This point may have some merit, but the involvement in wildlife ranching is not prohibitive to people of colour. Vast amounts of land is owned by black people, and the incentives are there for anyone to be involved. Perhaps the reason why not many black people are involved in game ranching may lie somewhere else. Perhaps its not as profitable as everyone thinks, and the need for cross subsidisation from alternative sources may have something to do with it. All said - i would like to encourage more people to get to understand how it works. The media has been unkind and painted every game rancher as a fat wealthy Afrikaner who exploits wildlife. I think that stereotype needs to be addressed, and in my experience in the wildlife ranching industry, I have met some of the most informed conservationists around, and people who have simply found a way to live their dream in the African bush surrounded by wildlife.

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