‘Game is far more valuable for trading than cattle’

2014-09-08 00:00

PEOPLE need to be educated about game so they can love it and protect it from destruction by poachers, an environmentalist has said.

“Our people must learn to love animals, not just their cattle, goats and dogs at home, but game, which they need to realise, is far more valuable for trading than cattle,” said Welcome Mphanga, the chairperson of the Mayibuye Community Trust.

Mphanga was addressing the issue of poaching in a press release on behalf of his community in the Camperdown area where the big five Mayibuye Community Game Reserve is currently under development.

“We have a big educational problem on our hands and we need government support to teach the community about the negative effects of poaching. If they poach, they are stealing from their children in future generations,” he said, adding, “There is a time and place for hunting, within the culling season, but it must be controlled and must be part of a culling programme.”

The Mayibuye Community Trust’s plea to end poaching comes ahead of the introduction of the big five, including rhino and elephant to the Camperdown area by early 2015. This will see the re-introduction of free-roaming elephant to the area for the first time in 150 years.

Speaking on the Mayibuye Community Game Reserve development, Mphanga said the development will be a success story for the community.

“The Mayibuye Community Game Reserve is a victory for our people. We have fought long and hard to reclaim our land and to come up with a way to make this land work for our community.”

Besides game, the area will have a residential component, including three luxury lodges which will add to the tourism appeal of the development. The reserve, which currently covers 4 650 ha, will eventually stretch from Camperdown to Inanda Dam in the east and up to the Wartburg area in the north.

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