Activist anger at sale of buffalos

Buffalo. Picture: Bruce Gorton
Buffalo. Picture: Bruce Gorton

Twenty-three buffalos offered up for sale by the Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency (ECPTA)have angered animal rights activists.

EMS Foundation SA spokeswoman Michele Pickover labelled the sale as “state capture” by the hunting industry and said it perpetuated trophy hunting.

Pickover said she was concerned the animals would be bought by game farmers and then used for hunting purposes.

She said current legislation was inadequate and needed to be replaced as there was “no articulation between environmental legislation and the Animal Protection Act”.

“Another huge problem is that there is no government agency enforcing the Animal Protection Act, in a way it has been totally outsourced to an under-resourced BGO– the NSPCA – and they do not have any real teeth either,” she said.

Pickover said the buffalos would probably be sold from betweenR100 000 and R1-million each, depending on the size of their horns.

But local game farm owner John Rance said there was great demand for hunting and it had contributed towards a growth in the population of buffalos in the last 10 to 15years.

Rance said sentiments such as that expressed by Pickover would lead to a decrease in wildlife numbers.

He said the hunting industry was enormous and contributed greatly to the country’s gross domestic product.

“There are more numbers of wild game in the Eastern Cape now than there were in 1900,” Rance said.

ECPTA spokeswoman Nopasika Mxunyelwa said it became necessary to periodically manage the population of the animals in a bid to conserve biodiversity.

Mxunyelwa said the agency had a good selection of animals to sell, including quality bulls.

She said the agency would invest funds towards conservation.

The buffalos are from the Great Fish River Nature Reserve and the sale will be conducted at the agency’s office in Southernwood this month.

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