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Wildlife farming entails the rearing of wildlife non-domesticated animals in a way that mimics a cattle ranch set up.
Wild animals are mostly kept for meat production, wool, fiber, and tourism.
Trophy hunting is a common “sport” among hunting enthusiasts and foreign tourists who come to the region expressly for this purpose. Also non consumptive tourism, which offers the public the possibility to visit wildlife farms, provides knowledge not only to surrounding communities but also to students.
Revenue earned from sales of wildlife have shown to improve the standards of living for people in these communities and generates billions of rands of income every year.
In managing its presence in a specific area and by respecting regulations and given parameters, human wildlife conflicts are kept to a minimum and wildlife farming can represent a source of income.
Such that, co-operations among community members rearing wildlife often receive aid from government and non-governmental organizations. The sector presents many opportunities of employment creation and supports rural communities.
What do you need to start rearing wildlife animals?
Most reared wildlife in Southern Africa
Advantages of rearing wildlife
- Easy to rear, as there is less contact with the animals.
- Venison meat is regarded as a delicacy by most people.
- Regarded as efficient feed converters.
- Aid with seed dispersal from consumed feed.
- High profits earned through wildlife auctions.
Prior to setting up a wildlife farm it is mandatory to consult and seek approval from relevant authorities, such as the ministry of tourism, wildlife services and veterinarians. Guidelines, for example on movement and handling, are well explained to the farmer.
When approval is granted the farmer can start setting up water facilities, observation sites can be erected if the farming land is wide and has the purpose of being accessible to the public. These structures ought to be as natural as possible. Reason being, wild animals need to feel they are in the wild. Furthermore, mimicking natural waterholes reduces stress on these animals.
Frequent interactions with other game farmers helps manage a game farm, as it is easier to learn from a farmer rearing akin animal species.
Dangers associated with overstocking of animals
Trophy hunting is often adopted as a means to suppress overstocking.
So, taking cognizance of stocking rates is crucial. First of all, overstocking entails increased pressure on vegetation as wildlife compete for limited resources, which can be grass or browse. From a health point of view, the gut microflora can be upset by scant vegetation on a farm. Therefore, it is often cautioned that adequate feed and water is available.
Despite the notion that wildlife hardly succumb to diseases, as a wildlife farmer, it is not the case.
In conclusion, sustainable farming has to be practiced so as to preserve these species and handling of wildlife with extreme caution all the time.