Reserves/Game Farms

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    Game farms comprise about 17,9 percent of all agricultural land in South Africa. About 50 percent of game farms are in Limpopo province and the most commonly hunted animals are springbok, impala, blesbuck, kudu, warthog, blue wildebeest and gemsbuck.

    Spaces of privatised wildlife production, in the form of game farms, private nature reserves and other forms of wildlife-oriented land use, are an increasingly prominent feature of the South African countryside. Whilst there is a well-developed literature on the social impacts of state-run protected areas, the outcomes of privatised wildlife production have thus far received little attention. It is argued here that the socio-spatial dynamics of the wildlife industry, driven by capitalist imperatives related to the commodified production of nature and ‘wilderness’, warrant both in-depth investigation in their own right, and contextualisation in terms of broader processes of agrarian change locally as well as globally. The growing influence of trophy hunting and the wildlife industry on private land can be seen as a significant contributing factor to processes of deagrarianisation that are mirrored in other parts of the African continent and elsewhere. In South Africa, these developments and their impacts on the livelihoods of farm dwellers take on an added dimension in the context of the country’s efforts to implement a programme of post-apartheid land reform. Two decades after the formal end of apartheid, contestations over land rights and property ownership remain live and often unresolved.

    A Stewardship programme is meant “To secure conservation status of areas with high biodiversity values in both private and communally-owned land, ensuring that landowners will enjoy tangible benefits for their conservation actions and expanding biodiversity conservation outside of formally protected areas.” In some ways, this can be seen as the successor to the earlier conservancy movement, because it too provides a way for private landowners to engage with the provincialconservation agency. Whether game farms on which hunting is allowed constitute ‘conservation’ is debatable, and it is also not clear whether the animals and their status and condition is a consideration in these discussions.

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