- North West emerging game farmers and communities have been thrown a lifeline after receiving a donation or loan of 354 game animals.
- 14 zebra, 12 red hartebeest, 10 gemsbok, five eland and four giraffe were among the animals released to the beneficiaries by minister Barbara Creecy.
- The department said the initiative forms part of the government’s plan to transform the wildlife sector.
North West emerging game farmers and communities, as part of a government programme to transform the sector, received a donation or loan of 354 game animals from the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries.
Among the game were 14 zebra, 12 red hartebeest, 10 gemsbok, five eland and four giraffe – released to the beneficiaries by minister Barbara Creecy.
The event was held at Aphamo Boerdery in the Groot Marico district of North West on Saturday.
The department said the event was in celebration of government’s commitment to developing the wildlife economy as part of the transformative obligations within the sector.
The department added that the event was made possible through SA National Parks’ socio-economic transformation interventions which pledged in 2018 to make available more than 3 000 head of game over three years to communities and emerging game farmers.
The department said this was part of the government’s plans to transform the wildlife sector.
Transformation of the sector will continue to be prioritised, in terms of improved inclusion of marginalised groups, especially communities living with or adjacent to these species, and in the role and influence of traditional leaders and healers in the wildlife sector.
The beneficiaries would further be supported through infrastructure development and training so that they could participate in different aspects of the sector.
This was also expected to create jobs.
SANParks provided mechanisms for the supply of founder herds of game to applicants. It also raised awareness for conservation, wildlife management and sustainable utilisation principles in the wildlife sector.
Creecy said the initiative “places communities living with wildlife at the centre of government’s thinking requiring greater focus on enhancing human-wildlife co-existence, and transformative approaches to access and benefit sharing for communities living on the edges of protected areas.”
The department added that the initiative was a highly administered programme wherein wildlife donation or loan recipients entered into an agreement with SANParks for either a donation of wildlife in the case of local community or a wildlife loan in the case of an emerging game farmer.
It said this agreement had a timeframe, after which the recipient may donate a number of the offspring, at SANParks’ discretion, to a future applicant.