KZN hunting fraternity irked over ‘secret’ cull

2016-03-01 06:00

THE KwaZulu-Natal hunting fraternity is up in arms over being excluded from a culling-for-profit initiative held by Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife.

What was termed a pilot project by the wildlife authority to generate profit, has led to a backlash within hunting circles. The hunters believe the profit motive was pursued over environmental sensitivities and an open tender process, and led to the exclusion of the Tembe Community Trust, which owns the land, from the initiative.

Earlier this week, The Witness (Fever’s sister paper) reported that several foreign hunters, under the guidance of a professional hunter, took part in a cull of nyala between August and October 2015, killing 97, and paying R400 per shot.

The Witness ascertained that the initiative never went out to tender, but was rather handed to outfitter Carlo Engelbrecht, who sources his clientele from Europe. The Tembe trust, which owns the park land, only became aware three months after the last hunt.

KZN Hunters Association CEO Chris Jennings, who also sits on the EKZNW Hunting Advisory Committee, said culling is an operational matter, but they should have been informed because of the nature of the pilot programme.

“As the KZN Hunters Association we were approached to assist with members to help with culling in the northern KZN areas, but that was the last we heard. There was no discussion about paying. It was a general inquiry,” he said.

Professional hunter, former Natal Parks Board employee and conservationist Paul Phelan said he found it “preposterous” that the wildlife authority “can even consider commercial hunting in a proclaimed game reserve”.

Phelan said there was a provision in an existing memorandum of understanding at the park that allows for animals to be relocated to adjacent community areas for legal hunting.

He said the hunt had occurred without “involving the local Tembe community or other interested and affected parties”.

Ezemvelo had not responded to questions on the matter at the time of going to press. - The Witness

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