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2017-02-01 | News

Predator-livestock conflict management gets scrutiny

The impact of wild predators on livestock in South Africa gets a review this year. © Andre van der Veen, Shutterstock

PORT ELIZABETH: As long as farmers and wildlife have vied for their share of the veld here in South Africa, there has been a conflict, as the inevitable presence of wild predators has resulted in livestock loss. 

The cost to the economy today is estimated to be about R1 billion. Managing this ‘conflict’ has economic and social implications, which may be at odds with the biodiversity and animal welfare needs of wildlife management, according to PredSA.

PredSA is a collaboration of academics, livestock industry bodies, and state conservationists who have come together to produce a scientific assessment into the extent of this livestock-predator conflict, and how it can be managed in a way that is in step with local laws and international best practice.

The findings of the study will be published in a book which has provisionally been titled Scientific Assessment: Livestock and Predation in South Africa. Dr Jane Turpie, with the University of Cape Town’s (UCT’s) Environmental Policy Research Unit (EPRU) has been appointed as the lead author on a chapter which will review of the economic implications of livestock predation, and management approaches to dealing with it.

Turpie says the brief is to give an overview of the specific economic impacts of predation on small and large livestock, as well as that in the game industry.

‘My contribution the PredSA’s wider analysis will also be to consider the cost of predator prevention measures, the extent to which predation is known to take place, and the value chain implications within the livestock industry,’ she explains.

Predation on livestock is believed to impact on South Africa’s GDP through undercutting agricultural revenues, can be measured in losses for government, and impacts food security and job creation in the sector. Turpie will put an economic lens to these impacts.

The PredSA study is expected to be wrapped up during 2017, and the published report out by early 2018. The institutional home is the Centre for African Conservation Biology at the Nelson Mandela Bay University in Port Elizabeth, on the south-east coast of South Africa.

For more about the scientific assessment, and the institutions involved, visit the PredSA website.