Namibia‚Äôs wildlife-ranching industry significant but still below potential
Wednesday, July 20, 2011 at 11:10
TRAFFIC in Conservation awareness, Wild meat, mammals - general

Namibian-produced game meat is the primary source of rations for around 23,000 agricultural workers in Namibia Click photo to enlarge © Tiemen Rhebergen Windhoek, Namibia, 20th July 2011—Ecotourism, together with legal production of game meat and hunting tourism, have the potential to contribute significantly to conservation, food security and to Namibia’s economy, according to a new report launched today by TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network.

The report, An analysis of game meat production and wildlife-based land uses on freehold land in Namibia: Links with food security (PDF, 1.4 MB), shows that game meat is the primary source of rations for around 23,000 agricultural workers who consume over 4,500 tonnes of game meat each year.

The report finds that while wildlife-based land uses (WBLU) on private land already contribute significantly to food security through provision of protein, generation of employment and foreign currency, there is more potential in this sector and a need for greater integration of emerging black farmers.

“This study lies at the nexus of conservation and development, biodiversity and human livelihoods,” said David Newton, Regional Director of TRAFFIC’s East/Southern Africa programme.

Click to download report (PDF, 1.4 MB)“It demonstrates how game meat production can gain an elevated role in terms of social and economic development within Namibia while enhancing the viability of wildlife-based land-use in the process.”

Managing Director of WWF in Namibia, Mr Chris Weaver, commented that the report illustrates how the game meat industry, as regulated by the Namibian government, serves as a global model for conservation and economic development, in sharp contrast to most of the world where un-regulated game meat is a conservation threat to a growing number of species.

In the study, researcher Dr Peter Lindsey found that on privately owned farmlands in Namibia, large quantities—between 16–26 million kilogrammes—of game meat are produced annually, most of which is used domestically, contributing significantly to food security.

If channelled appropriately, game meat produced on farmlands could also reduce illegal wildlife hunting, a serious problem in some areas.

“Making supplies of affordable game meat available to residents of communal land and informal settlements in farming areas may help reduce wildlife poaching in the minority of areas where illegal hunting is a serious problem,” said Lindsey.

Springboks are one of the main sources of game meat in Namibia Click photo to enlarge © Martin Harvey / WWF-Canon Approximately two-thirds of game meat produced on privately owned farms comes from Oryx Oryx gazella, Greater Kudu Tragelaphus strepsiceros and Springbok Antidorcas marsupialis.

Lindsey also found that WBLU on privately owned land is associated with higher levels of employment than equivalent livestock farmed areas, a finding in keeping with another recent study from South Africa.

Importantly, the legal harvest of wildlife for meat and/or trophies can create key incentives for wildlife conservation too—as highlighted by threatened wildlife species like Hartmann’s Mountain Zebra Equus zebra hartmannae, which has increased in recent years in Namibian farmland areas.

The report makes a number of recommendations, including incentives for the formation of fully integrated commercial wildlife conservancies; support for the reintroduction of the full range of indigenous mammal fauna where possible on private land; the exploration of ways to permit the reintroduction of buffaloes to some areas; and integrating the development of WBLU with the land reform process by encouraging emerging farmers to engage in wildlife-ranching.

“Wildlife-based land uses are potentially less risky than livestock production because income is not so dependent on rainfall as that from livestock production, and because wild animals are better adapted to Namibia’s harsh environment,” says Lindsey.

Risk is minimized in areas where multiple forms of wildlife-based land use are practiced, and where income from wildlife-ranching is not reliant on high off-takes of wildlife (i.e. high-end, low off-take trophy hunting and/or ecotourism).

The study was undertaken as part of a German government (BMZ)-funded programme implemented by TRAFFIC entitled “Vulnerable People, Diminishing Wildlife: Addressing priority bushmeat trade, livelihood and food security issues in Africa”.

Currently the area of privately owned land in Namibia used for wildlife production is around 288,000 square km, with approximately 32,000 sqaure km devoted exclusively to wildlife production.

For further information:
Richard Thomas, Communication Co-ordinator, TRAFFIC International,, +44 1223 279068, mob: +44 752 6646 216.


Article originally appeared on TRAFFIC (
See website for complete article licensing information.