News24

SA makes progress on livestock loss

2012-06-15 14:35

Cape Town - A plan to a find a solution for the problem of livestock loss caused by wild animals is closer thanks to a meeting between various stakeholders in the Western Cape.

Various organisations in the province, including CapeNature, met to explore various non-lethal methods to control the jackals and caracals that cause famers in SA about R20m in losses per year.

"We heard that farmers were suffering continual severe losses from predation and that more research and techniques needed to be explored as a matter of urgency," said veterinarian Dr Marc Walton, the newly elected chair of the Wildlife Forum.

Western Cape premier Helen Zille opened the forum earlier in 2012, which included role players representing animal welfare, conservationists, veterinarians, academic and research institutions, farmers and professional hunters.

"We need to find the correct balance between the farmers' livelihood and safety of the food chain and the welfare issues of predators and wildlife," said Walton.

Progress

The forum hosts many divergent views on how to tackle the problem of livestock predation and members have decided on the way forward.

"What was incredible is that organisations with vastly different views and philosophies were able to sit around the forum table and not only discuss issues but also come to constructive suggestions and ways forward," said CapeNature acting CEO Dr Kas Hamman.

Livestock losses through predation is not limited to SA and according to the US National Agricultural Statistics Service, 224 200 sheep were killed in the US by predators in 2004.

In SA, there has been progress on the problem, and a trial in the Baviaanskloof and Jansenville area showed a decline in livestock predation when farmers employed management tools.

Where control methods were used, the study showed a 56% - 97% reduction in livestock losses when non-lethal management tools were used.

Some of the non-lethal methods include the use of dogs, grazing management and the use of livestock collars invented by two Eastern Cape farmers, Larry and Gray King.


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