Ezemvelo fires back on hunting permit issue

2012-11-15 00:00

GREG Martindale, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife’s biodiversity stewardship manager, has assured landowners in the Mpushini valley that a game capture permit allowing a farmer to capture and remove wildlife from his farm was issued legally for a legal activity.

He dismissed as untrue allegations made by the Lower Mpushini Valley Conservancy that Ezemvelo had “mistakenly” issued the permit.

The Witness reported late last month that the conservancy accused Ezemvelo of granting a permit on September 28 to Sven Bruss, of Shemungwe Game Capture, to capture 30 impala, 20 zebra and 10 nyala on behalf of Steve van Huyssteen, owner of Starlight Farm. The permit expired on Wednesday, October 31.

The permit led to a stand-off between Van Huyssteen and conservation groups in the Ashburton area.

Van Huyssteen reportedly said the proposed capture had been organised because animals have been “wiping out” his crops, and that he has farmed in the area for 12 years.

Nicole May, the chairperson of the Mpushini Protected Environment Landowners’ Association, had said at the time that they have requested that Ezemvelo withdraw this permit on the grounds that these were free roaming animals which form part of the ecosystem of the area.

Martindale fired back in a statement yesterday, saying that the permit allegations were simply incorrect.

He said the permit that was issued for game capture was for a property that is not within the Mpushini Protected Environment, was not part of the conservancy and does not share a boundary with the protected environment. The landowner had every right to remove the game, he said.

He said it was “upsetting” to hear these landowners speak out against Ezemvelo.

“Especially as we have so willingly and energetically supported and encouraged the 18 landowners in Mpushini to incorporate their collective 600-hectare landholdings into our Stewardship Programme.

“This programme is about working with landowners to support them in achieving their biodiversity conservation objectives.

“We have done this in the past and I am convinced we can return to this spirit,” said Martindale.

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