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Bugs last won the day on January 30 2013

Bugs had the most liked content!

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About Bugs

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    Order of the Pith

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  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. To add to this topic - Here is a recent article in the farmers weekly Cattle farmers learn how to farm game
  5. 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..
  6. 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.
  7. If you feel like this then start your own thread and stop hijacking every other thread with your biased rhetoric. Better still - dig up one of the many old threads and see if there is something that hasn't already been said.
  8. Just how the presence of plastic and fakes will have any influence on increasing poaching is beyond me. Please provide scientific material that backs up your claim that the 2008 ivory auction caused an increase in poaching. It is international accepted that the sale, in the form of a once off auction with two buyers and a subsequent ban, was a foolhardy market concept. BUT - there were plenty of other market drivers that could have resulted in the increase in poaching, and all these factors have to be considered when doing an analysis. It could have been because I ordered a pizza in 2008 that resulted in the increase in ivory poaching..
  9. @@janzin - is this the same Adam Welz who works for or runs the NGO, WildAid in South Africa?
  10. @@optig This is incorrect. Hunting plays quite an important role in Bangweulu as far as I know. I also believe hunting will be re-instated in Chinko if and when conditions will allow. Yes, I can confirm that they do use hunting in Bangweulu. I will post an interview I did with the person who manages the reserve on behalf of African Parks in due course. Anyway - we have drifted off topic on this thread.. Its not only black lechwe, but buffalo and Sitatunga as well as a few other species..
  11. WOW - Perhaps that is for another thread, but seeing as you said it - I am afraid I simply have to respond in the interests of logic.. You clearly haven't met the Kenyans on the coal face. In the following few links provided I will show you a number of examples that indicate you are clearly not in tune with what rural Kenyans think. Please watch the following interview with Laikipia manager of Sosian Ranch - the one where Tristan Voorspuy was shot and the ranch burned down. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u4Q2N1ubzHg Now watch an interview with David Hopcraft owner of Swara conservancy https://vimeo.com/135227624 Now watch the interview with Michael Norton Griffiths https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XjUrzB2xxIA&t=1s If you still remain unconvinced see Calvin Cottars comments here And of course there is the research paper by Kenyan, Joseph Ogutu attached that explains the cataclysmic decline in Kenya since the hunting ban Lets agree, that its unlikely, if not impossible that hunting will be entertained in Kenya again, and alternatives are still inadequate and new innovations ned to be explored. I have no interest in advocating hunting in Kenya again, apart from learning from their mistake. Lets also agree that opinions of urban people of Kenya differ considerably from those of the rural people who have to live in the coal face. Kenya has had more wildlife funding through donors than any other African country, yet the results have been a cataclysmic decline, and in South Africa, we get very little donations, yet we have achieved a phenomenal wildlife recovery over the same period.. This is down to ownership of both land and wildlife, which produces incentives for people to tolerate or embrace wildlife conservation, as opposed to alternative land uses. The closer Kenya can get to devolved ownership the better, but the limits still remain, as they will be deprived accessing the full value of wildlife without being able to utilise that wildlife as profitably as possible. Your bias against hunting may be understood, but you need to make an effort to be more open-minded to logic from other experienced conservationists. You need to understand that your stance against hunting is ideologically based, and when dealing with conservation issues we need to apply pragmatic philosophies. There is no one-size-fits all solution, and Kenya have chosen to deny the option of trophy hunting in their conservation policy, and are paying the price, but there is no logic to further expand on this failure to include wildlife policies in other African countries.
  12. @@optig Although I haven't found the link to your "great conservation lie" - I have seen a review of it by Michael Norton-Griffiths. here
  13. @@inyathi - I am going to need to take a breather before replying in full. I cant help thinking that the best way to talk about this is around a fire with a drink of choice. In the mean time - here is something to think about... Already the "wild rhino" are the easy targets. They are being picked off far worse than those managed by private custodians - Remember that private custodians range from Phinda, Shamwari, Zululand Rhino reserve and many many more. Many of these rhino (most) are completely wild. In fact even the ones in John Humes reserve are completely wild. However - in 2007 private rhino owners spoke for 25% of South Africas rhino, and today they speak for nearly 40%... All this under the trade ban. The trend is clear - rhino under state protection are far more likely to be killed under the trade ban. To make things worse, the Cow calf groups are far easier targets that lone bulls. Cow calf groups, usually huddle together when there is a threat, thus the whole group is killed. Bulls are always weary that other bulls will be approaching and are quicker to make an escape. I still cant see why a legal trade will make that worse. It is my view that it will make it better for a number of reasons. Already state rhino benefit from donor assistance, and military interventions. Under trade the need to poach will be less, as there is already a legitimate source of non-lethal horn available. Various sources claim that rhino horn is worth between $80 000 and $120 000 per kg. This is probably a retail price. Based on that, we expect rhino horn to be sold for around $20 000 (wholesale) which gives the retailer an easy 100% markup to sell it in Asia for $40 000. This price makes rhino farming completely viable, and delivers horn to the market at a far lower price than what the market is currently used to paying. The price should be kept as high as possible to ensure profitability to rhino custodians and good profits for retailers, and low enough to undercut the existing speculators and to incentivise traders to trade honestly. At $20k per kg an average rhino will produce 35kg of horn own a lifetime, and at a cost around $10k per year in protection, a rhino can produce $350k profit in its lifetime. During this time, it also produces other rhino who also produce horn.. SO - the value of rhino will most definitely go up. State parks auction rhino and the single biggest ticket item in their auctions have traditionally been rhino. Just based on the ability to produce horn, rhinos prices should go up more than ten fold. Add the fact that rhinos produce rhinos, and auction prices are set to rise. State parks will benefit. The amount of horn that is being taken by killing rhino, can easily be supplied sustainably indefinitely by dehorning 25% of South Africas rhino regularly and from stockpiles. Rhino populations should double every ten years. Already rhino populations have been stagnant for the last ten years (except for privately kept rhinos) In reversal of your worry that a small fraction of rhinos will suffer from trade, why not ask about the future of the large mass of rhino that are currently in private custodianship under the trade ban. These rhino are most certainly at the largest risk, as its clearly unsustainable for these people to foot the bill indefinitely.
  14. One of th founder donors of WWF was Prince Bernard of Netherlands - He invested a small fortune of his own families money in the WWF. I think there is no doubt that Kenya conservation policy has been a clear failure. Its abundantly clear that ownership of both land and animals is the most efficient way of saving wildlife. WWF were right to argue that Kenya should not stop hunting because the result was extreme wildlife declines. African parks was co-founded by Michael Eustace, Mavusu Msimang, Peter Fernhead and Anthony Hall-Martin - their biggest donor was Paul Fentener van Vlissingen. You may find this hard to believe - but Prince Bernard was a keen hunter, so was Paul van Vlissengen. Michael Eustace and Mavuso Msimang are jointly in favour of selling rhino horn, and advocate hunting as a valid conservation tool. Your link to the "big lie about wildlife" doesnt work. But a book you should read is Game Changer by Glen Martin For anyone interested in some history of conservation - this makes interesting reading - Game conservation in Zululand 1824 to 1947 One of the best books to read is the "White Rhino Saga" or "Into the river of life" about Ian Player. Hluhluwe park was one of the conservation areas in South Africa. Another book worth reading is the story of Harry Wolhuter Memories of a game Ranger ​AND - Another book worth reading is Wankie by Ted Davison And another favourite - "a game Ranger remembers by Bruce Bryden" I believe Yellowstone National Park had a bit of a shaky start... read National Geographic link here "At the outset, the park was an orphan idea with no clarity of purpose, no staff, no budget. Congress seemed to lose interest as soon as the ink of Grant’s signature dried. Yellowstone became a disaster zone, neglected and abused, for more than a decade. Nathaniel Langford, the failed bank clerk and railroad publicist, served as its first superintendent, at zero salary, and during his five years in the post he barely earned that, revisiting the park only two or three times. Market hunters established themselves brazenly in the park, killing elk, bison, bighorn sheep, and other ungulates in industrial quantities. By one account, a pair called the Bottler brothers shot about 2,000 elk near Mammoth Hot Springs in early 1875, generally taking only the tongue and the hide from each animal, leaving the carcasses to rot or be scavenged. That account doesn’t say how many grizzly bears the Bottlers killed over those carcasses, for convenience or profit, but undoubtedly the elk meat was a dangerous attractant that brought bears near guns. An elk hide was worth six to eight dollars, serious money, and a man might kill 25 to 50 elk in a day. “There was this massive slaughter that occurred here, from 1871 through at least 1881,” according to Lee Whittlesey, currently Yellowstone’s historian. Antlers littered the hillsides. Wagon tourists came and went unsupervised, at low numbers but with relatively high impact, some of them vandalizing geyser cones, carving their names on the scenery, killing a trumpeter swan or other wildlife for the hell of it. Ungulate populations fell, and then the carnage gradually petered out, Whittlesey told me, “until the Army arrived here in 1886.”"
  15. I think its beyond the point of being able to appeal now. This has already been decided in the highest court in the country, and been lost with costs. Incidentally - another court case has just been won on exactly the same principle - "that there was no public participation". That being the Nuclear deal that Jacob Zuma is involved in. The trillion dollar nuclear deal is back on hold.. Its important to understand that many people who were advocating legal trade would have far preferred that it went through CITES and was controlled by CITES. I think we have all realised that it was unrealistic for this to happen. Its difficult to predict what will happen with the new domestic trade, but as long as rhino horn is sold and and exported legally, we would consider that there is a lot to be learned from this. There may certainly be a little fine tuning needed. By the time we approach next CITES we will be much wiser. The ability to export horn is set within CITES anyway. Its done from horn of dead rhino as a result of trophy hunting. So CITES cant object. There will, no doubt be a lot of activist trying to derail the process, but some countries will allow imports. This is crucial to the success of the trade mechanism, and nothing will be learned if this is not allowed.

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