Hunters, game farmers contribute billions to economy – WRSA

The wildlife and hunting industry contributes billions of rands to the economy, said Adri Kitshoff-Botha, Wildlife Ranching South Africa (WRSA) CEO, speaking at an Absa Agribusiness breakfast at the opening of Huntex 2016.

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Kitshoff-Botha said the industry creates around 140 000 jobs in the full value-chain of wildlife industry, with around 120 000t-150 000t of game meat produced annually. Also, money from trophy hunting gets ploughed back into the communities where the animals were hunted.

International hunters contribute around R1,2bn to the SA economy, added Kitshoff-Botha.

But wrong perceptions about the hunting industry continue to cause damage.

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“We have to make sure the right message is out there. There are perceptions, for instance, that lions are becoming extinct. But in reality lion populations in Zimbabwe, South Africa and Botswana have grown by 11% between the 1990s and 2014,” said Kitshoff-Botha.

Animal rights activists also focus on breeders who use small breeding camps, but there is a move to larger breeding camps of up to 1 500ha, she said.

Wildlife ranchers need to market aspects of their farms such as hiking trails and fishing, and tap in the right markets, as these parts of the industry also bring millions into economies, said Kitshoff-Botha.