EC game auction raises R3.3m with 10% going to conservation
More than R3.3-million was raised in the sale of 230 animals by the Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency during a game auction at Mpekweni Beach Resort on Saturday evening.
The animals on sale were taken from five government game reserves managed by the ECPTA in the province namely Baviaanskloof, Great Fish River, Mpofu, Oviston and Tsolwana. The animals ranging from buffalo, mountain zebra, eland, Cape mountain zebra, red hartebeest, plains zebras and red hartebeest were sold off to the highest bidder at the well-attended function.
Willowmore nature reserve in Baviaanskloof sold 20 buffaloes, Great Fish River outside Grahamstown sold 24 buffaloes, 16 eland, 10 kudus, 22 plains zebras and six hartebeest. Mpofu Game Reserve from Fort Beaufort sold 10 buffaloes and 20 plains zebra. Oviston near Venterstad sold 10 buffaloes and 20 red hartebeest. Cradock’s Tsolwana nature reserve sold 12 Cape mountain zebra, 20 eland and 40 red hartebeest.
About 10% of the money raised in the auction – R324500 – is earmarked for conservation programmes run by the ECPTA, the agency’s CEO Vuyani Dayimani said.
Dayimani said the money would be used for:
- Training community members adjacent to the provincial parks as professional hunters;
- Conservation bursaries for young people from communities adjacent to the provincial nature reserves; and
- Skill development training for ECPTA staff on conservation.
According to Dayimani, one of ECPTA strategic goals aimed to secure key biodiversity in the province through improving management effectiveness of protected areas, develop and implement a provincial protected area system and grow revenue from biodiversity goods and services and invest back into state reserves.
Speaking at an ECPTA event at Mpekweni on Friday evening, finance and economic development MEC Oscar Mabuyane vowed to pour more funding into the province’s tourism coffers to boost the economy.
He made a bold commitment by saying much of R78.2-billion of the province’s public purse should go to the tourism industry. Mabuyane, saying the sector was the backbone of the province’s economy, signed a declaration that 62000ha of private game land would be protected by the agency through a biodiversity stewardship programme.
The project, known as Indalo Protected Environment, is an initiative started by eight private game reserve in 2002 to protect wildlife, fragile ecosystems and communities.
The reserves are Amakhala Game Reserve, Hopewell, Kariega, Kwandwe, Oceana, Pumba, Shamwari and Sibuya.
“Funds must function or fall. We need to unleash more funding and the provincial government must take responsibility and not make tourism a baby of the ECPTA,” said Mabuyane.
“By adding more funds to the sector we will be able to create permanent job opportunities through tourism. Indeed this is one area that can serve as a catalyst for economic growth.”
Dayimani admitted that the addition of the 62000ha into the province’s conservation estate added a burden to the government, which already had limited resources. However, he welcomed the initiative.