A question often asked is, “Why do we hunt?”. This will always be a concept that some will take part in and others have no interest. Both of which are fine; not everyone is a hunter, just like not everyone likes riding bikes, wants to have kids, enjoys the same music… you see where we are going with this.
However, we believe educating people as to why we hunt is very important because whether you like hunting or not, the reality is that many species are still around today because of hunting, and many wilderness areas are protected because of the funding that hunting provides.
Conservation safari hunting is the legal and ethical hunting of indigenous wildlife within sustainably managed populations, conducted transparently and verifiably, with strictly managed quotas set on scientific knowledge. Unfortunately there are unethical, cruel, and unfair hunting practices occurring around the globe however, the vast majority of hunters are conservationists and practice ethical hunting. At Buffalo Kloof, we strive to maintain the highest level of ethical fair chase hunting practices.
What is the role of the hunter in today’s world? Well, in many ways, the same as it has always been. Our ancestors were hunter-gatherers, it’s something human beings did to survive, and we formed part of the ecosystem. Today we no longer need to hunt to survive, but we still play a vital role in the ecosystem, acting as selective predators.
Most wilderness zones, national parks, game reserves, and game farms are fenced in South Africa and many countries worldwide. Today, wild animals have areas that they roam but they can no longer freely roam the entire continent as they did thousands of years ago. They are restricted to certain areas for protection, keeping them out of commercial farmland and human settlement. This means we have a responsibility to manage the wildlife in these areas. At Buffalo Kloof we are focused on protecting the more endangered smaller predators such as cheetah and leopard. As a result, we as hunters need to take the place of the apex predator, and this is where we come back to the point of being selective predators. As humans, we have the ability to assess an ecosystem through the use of vegetation analysis, rainfall records, and population monitoring. In this manner, we can restore balance to the ecosystem when more prolific breeding species start to dominate and negatively impact more sensitive species. Remember, wildlife is secluded to a fenced area, they no longer have the option to migrate vast distances. Older and weaker animals that would naturally be eaten by predators would suffer longer, lingering with illness, or because their teeth are worn they struggle to chew. Ethical hunting, or ‘harvesting’ as we call it, targets the old animals in the final years of their lives and controls the numbers of more dominant species. This aids in the balance of an ecosystem.
Hunting adds a financial value to wildlife. Without hunting, conservation of wildlife would be restricted to a select few photographic or eco-tourism reserves. Adding value to wildlife allows mixed operations, game farms, livestock, and enterprises to thrive without conflict. If wildlife has value, in turn it is protected and conserved, which ultimately leads to conservation.
Unfortunately, hunters are under pressure, not from trusted professional wildlife biologists and land managers (both groups unanimously support ethically managed and regulated hunting worldwide), but from a minority of Animal Rights Extremists. We cannot try to change their views, but we can better communicate our passion to those who are in the middle of the road on the topic.
Our mission at Buffalo Kloof is to become the leading pioneer in proving that you can support eco-tourism, photographic safaris, and hunting practices as well. All tourism models have their place in supporting wildlife and wilderness areas. Collectively they go hand in hand. As long as hunting is conducted ethically, it is one of the most sustainable tools for conserving wildlife and, more importantly, habitat.