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Ecological / Veld Assesments

The following proposal outlines the scope of the consulting activities deemed necessary to deliver an Ecological and Viability Assessment of a game farm to determine a suitable wildlife production option. The proposed project description, phasing, procedures and timeframes are delivered here. A final costing will depend on either a site visit and or a meeting to discuss your objectives, scope of the envisaged project and available financial resources to achieve your desired objectives.

PHASING AND PROCEDURES

Phase 1: Initial consultation and potential Site visit and Information sheet: This will help us to ascertain what your objectives are as well as the species that are intended to be re-introduced. This composition will be dependent on the objectives – be it production of valuable species as an investment and/or commercial production as a financial concern. If deemed necessary, a Site visit will be conducted to ensure that the practicalities of the operation are considered. We will require the information sheet to be completed as fully as possible.

Phase 2: Identifying homogenous units and mapping of study area The first step in the evaluation of the habitat is to divide the area into relatively homogenous units or habitats based on landscape, terrain-morphology, geology, soils, and vegetation. Aerial photographs are an important tool for the management of a ranch and the latest Google earth images will be used. All the existing information will also be gathered and studied during this phase. A map will then be produced showing the location of the different habitat types or homogenous units, as well as other important infrastructure.

Phase 3: Ecological evaluation Every homogenous unit will then be surveyed in terms of its plant species composition and structure. In order to ensure accuracy, veld surveys need to be done during the growing season, which is from November to April. Survey sites will be placed randomly within the different habitat types and field surveys will be used in order to determine the veld condition and ecological (grazing and browsing) capacity of each homogenous unit. The different homogeneous units and their total area will then form the basis for recommendations on the numbers of animals that would be acceptable without having detrimental effects on the vegetation or soil. Recommendations will be made in order to achieve the set objectives of the ranch. Part of this will also include an accurate Game count – utilizing the various methods best suited to the area (Aerial counts, Strip counts, Density dependent waterhole counts).

Phase 4: Planning and placement of permanent monitoring points An outstanding characteristic of ecosystems are that they are constantly changing in reaction to the management being applied and changes in environmental conditions. When working in an uncertain and ever changing environment like nature, where decisions are usually made before scientific proof can be obtained, a flexible and adaptive approach to management is needed. The planning and placement of permanent monitoring points in every homogenous unit is crucial for this purpose and will be done during this phase. Ecological monitoring is the purposeful and repeated examination of the state or condition of the vegetation in relation to external stress. It serves as an early warning system to detect changes or trends as a result of management actions or natural events, with the goal to adapt management strategies where necessary. During this phase permanent monitoring points will be identified and marked in every homogenous unit. This will help with future monitoring on the ranch, which is crucial when following an active adaptive management strategy. This is a point that needs to be taken very seriously, as it enables you to ascertain how well the management of your property is going. It needs to be viewed as a recurring phase and not just a once off procedure.

Phase 5 ( optional ): Intensive breeding camp When planning to keep animals in smaller camps (<400ha), a document should accompany the application for permits where the size of the camps, reasons for keeping the animals, the species to be kept, and details on the specific program should be indicated. This will be done during this phase. Once decided on this route, we will assist with the design, costing of material and actual construction by our dedicated Fencing and Boma division.

Phase 6: Final report This phase will consist of the analysis of the data gathered during the surveys, and the compilation of the final report. The final report will consist of the following sections: Description of the study area
Materials and methods used
Results and discussion
General management recommendations
References cited
A bound copy of the report will be supplied as well as an electronic copy on CD

TIME FRAME

The expected timing for these projects are typically as follows (but could vary dependant on thesize of the property):

Phase 1 Initial consultation and potential Site visit 1-3 days

Phase 2 Data gathering, dividing the area into homogenous units, mapping of study area , 3 days

Phase 3&4 Field surveys, monitoring points 5 days

Phase 5 Intensive breeding camp 1 week

Phase 6 Data analysis, Compilation of final report 2 weeks

Total 4 weeks

A 25% deposit (based on a final costing after initial meeting) will be necessary to secure dates for the surveys etc.

Accommodation as well as any other additional expenses will be levied at applicable rates should none be available on -site

We will assist you with various implementations of any recommendations once the final report has been completed if they are deemed necessary.

Each game ranch owner has his own personal reasons and motives for owning the farm, but when setting objectives, knowledge of the ecological and economic limitations is important. Despite the availability of detailed ecological knowledge for sound game ranching, various enterprises with great potential still fail due to inadequate financial planning. The current economic conditions in the country are partly as a result of tougher competition, uncertainty in interest rates and uncertainty in economic stability, which necessitate game ranch owners to plan and manage according to sound ecological and financial principles.

We have assisted numerous game ranches with management plans, monitoring programs andhabitat assessments for the re-introduction of various scarce and protected species including: Elephant, Buffalo, Hippopotamus, Roan Antelope, Rhinoceroses (Black-, and White-), Sable antelope and various colour variants.

Our reports are approved and done in line with therequirements set out by the nature conservation authorities. Although we make use of the newest scientific techniques for our data collection and calculations, our reports follow a practical approach with management recommendations in order to make it more user friendly for the owner/manager on the ranch.

Our principal ecologist completed his MSc (Wildlife Management) under Prof. J. du P. Bothma at the University of Pretoria and is currently registered for a PhD (Wildlife Management) at the Centre for Wildlife Management at the University of Pretoria. He is also registered as an Ecologist at the South African Council for Natural Scientific Professions (SACNASP).

Regardless of the specific goals that you have set for your farm, it is of great importance to know and understand the ecology of the area. This will ensure that the correct management decisions are made at the correct time, and that ranching is done in an ecologically, as well as economically sustainable manner. In the long run, no game ranch can exist unless it pays for itself, or is subsidised from external sources.

For this reason a Private Game Ranch should thus be a ring-fenced profit-seeking production unit.

Global Supplies through its top quality service and experience will ensure that you achieve a

Financially and ecologically sound wildlife production unit through our on-going Management and consultation of your operation.

Services Include:

  • Alien Plant removal,
  • Bush clearing (Manual as well as Aerial spraying),
  • Fencing and Camp requirements as well as construction,
  • Supply of Feed,
  • Supplying Stocks of Top Quality Wildlife to ensure progressive and profitable Ranching,
  • Assisting in marketing and selling of your animals to ensure top prices,
  • On-going management assistance – on the property as a whole as well as with specific management issues when it comes to intensive breeding,
  • Continued monitoring of the effects of Wildlife on the property to facilitate adaptive management strategies,
  • Genetic monitoring - through our leading Biotech laboratory- of the breeding rates and success as well as when it is deemed necessary to change the genetic composition in intensive breeding operations,
  • Capture equipment and Boma construction,
  • Insurance solutions (veld cover / Boma cover /Transit cover)

We look forward to being of assistance and making your vision a reality