Hunting Ethics

August 19, 2017

Guest blog: A letter from Gerhard von Hasseln to a disillusioned fellow hunter!

For introduction I mention that I have read your articles in the Man Magazine for which over the years I have also written some articles which were published. I arrived in South Africa in 1957 starting as a learner wool buyer. As a farewell present my father gave me a 9.3 x 62 rifle with which I shot my first bushbuck ram on a farm near Kei Road. I have hunted in six African countries though nowhere near as extensively as yourself.

Since I arrived I regret having to admit that the ethics of hunting in South Africa has deteriorated beyond repair. Thousands of miles of game fences and the breeding of captive game animals has made a joke of ethical hunting. I can understand that you are fed-up with it. Most European hunters have by now heard what is happening and stay at home rather than being ridiculed by their hunting friends. I recently read an article in a German hunting magazine where statistics were published. The number of European hunters visiting South Africa has dropped by around 70%. Along the coast between Port Elizabeth and East London where there is one game farm next to another, some have reverted back to farming with cattle for lack of clients. From now on the situation should improve but what cannot be rectified is the lack of ethics on the part of many South African game farmers. Is there any light at the end of the tunnel? Yes, Namibia with their strict hunting regulations has taken a share of clients who normally would have hunted in South Africa. Let me continue, last year I received a DVD from my brother-in-law in Germany, in which a lady posed as a lion hunter and visited various farms in South Africa where lions were kept in small enclosures. One lion farmer even issued a price list where lions could be selected according to their looks. I cringed when I saw these pictures. What has happened to hunting? And why does the Government not put a stop to it?

You have taken the matter to heart and should perhaps allow for human failure. I suggest that you wipe the slate clean, keep one or two rifles and enjoy a morning walk in the Karoo, perhaps to a place where you can hunt a few dassies.

Waidmannsheil

 

The Anthropocene-age of Man or: Out of Africa - the Obsession

August 4, 2017
Current thinking is that the human lineage split from the apes around 7 million years before present in Central Africa, remaining on the continent for at least the next 5 million years.

However, the recent discovery of remains of what has been called 'El Graeco', or Graecopithecus freybergi, indicates that the 'Out of Africa' hypothesis should be re-examined. 'El Graeco' shows that human ancestors were starting to evolve at least 200,000 years before the earliest known African hominid. Is this...
Continue reading...
 

Short post script to previous blog

June 5, 2017
A few figures from North America:
  • Wind turbines kill between 214,000 and 368,000 birds each year. 
  • Up to 6.8 million bird deaths are attributed to collisions with cell and radio towers.
  • Feral and domestic cats are estimated to kill 1.4 billion to 3.7 billion birds each year. (By far the worst!)
This makes the wind turbines positively 'bird friendly'. 

Continue reading...
 

Are Wind Farms so Environmentally Friendly?

June 5, 2017
For the past few months numerous 'Abnormal Load' lorries have trundled past our home village of Loxton. They have been, and still are, carrying the various sections of wind turbines to the new 'wind farm' near Loeriesfontein. 

Many say, that 'wind farms' are amongst the most environmentally friendly of sources of energy. Once they are erected and producing power that is probably the case but....

Firstly, one has to ask how much energy and pollution was used and created in the manufacture of the...
Continue reading...
 

Lions in the smaller parks

May 7, 2017
On our recent stay in Karoo National Park we encountered small Lion prides, one with two cubs, another with four of almost nine months. We have to ask the questions, how many Lion can a park such as Karoo National Park carry, and when carrying capacity is reached what will be done with the surplus? 
One certainly needs to introduce new genetic stock from time to time in these 'closed' parks but demand for Lions for introduction or reintroduction is limited. Perhaps it is time that SANParks was...
Continue reading...
 

4x4 Rallies in National Parks?

May 7, 2017
On a recent stay at the isolated Afsaal Cottage in Karoo National Park our peace and quiet was spoiled by a 4x4 "rally". More than 30 Landrovers and Range Rovers in tight convoy roared past, creating clouds of dust. We feel that our national parks are no place for these 4x4 meetings! How tightly do SANParks scrutinize these events, or do the participants not declare their intention to have these gatherings? We would be interested to know what SANParks' policy is on this.



Continue reading...
 

The Scale of Things! Or: the Madness of Man (&Woman)

March 22, 2017
Consider this - the 2016/2017 budget for South African National Parks is roughly R 1.86 billion, for Cape Nature approximately R 304 million (2014/2015). We are well aware that not all of these budgets go into what we call “real conservation” but one has to measure this against the cost of a single F117 Nighthawk stealth aircraft - R 1.4 billion, or a South African produced Rooivalk attack helicopter at a mere R 500 million. We could go further but there is no point - governments and man ...
Continue reading...
 

SKA - Meerkat and conservation

January 14, 2017
There has been a lot of negativity surrounding the large tracts of land that have been bought up as part of the SKA-Meerkat astronomical observatory. It lies to the north of the Karoo town of Carnarvon, just 60 km from our home village!

In the general area we are 'threatened' by fracking for gas and open-cast mining for uranium but SKA does put a positive spin on things.

Most complaints against the large land holdings of SKA revolve around the loss of sheep farming country but many of the bough...
Continue reading...
 

Back to our pet hate - feral & domestic cats

January 14, 2017
On a recent visit to the Neusiedler See in eastern Austria, on the Hungarian border, we encountered feral cats - lots of them. This is a national park and one of the most important bird conservation areas in Austria/Hungary. 

No information is available on the impact these cats are having on the bird and other vertebrate, and invertebrate life. Going on information from England, Sweden and Germany the impact is probably considerable. So, why is nothing being done to control or eradicate this f...
Continue reading...
 

The Feral Horse Dilemma!

November 9, 2016
We recently read about the feeding of the feral horses in the vicinity of Aus in southern Namibia. Mathilde and I first encountered these horses in 2003 and we were impressed by how they had survived against all the odds from the early 20th century. But they are not part of the natural system of things and if they survive so be it but man should not intervene and feed them.

We both are horse people but where feral horses enter a natural ecosystem they should be removed or controlled. In Austra...

Continue reading...
 

Categories