- Offtake exceeding 5%
- Subsistance offtake
Levels of illegal hunting could affect the survival of
buffalo. Tagg, Mayes and Scheepers (pers.comm. 10/10/02)
state that significant illegal hunting is taking place.
model for buffalo has been developed to explore the
maximum illegal harvest which a buffalo population of 3,000
could sustain. It is assumed that mortality would affect
both sexes and all ages equally.
|Illegal harvest %
|Rate of population growth %
|Years to reach 10,000 animals
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Offtake exceeding 5%
Under the rainfall conditions in the Caprivi (which set
the population can sustain slightly more than a 5% offtake.
The higher the proportional offtake, the lower is the growth
rate of the population and, at a 5% offtake, it is effectively
stationary. To examine rates of population decline when
the harvest exceeds 5%, it is not useful to examine percentage
offtakes because these result in a lower and lower number
of animals being killed as the population declines so that
the population tends to stabilise at some low level.
A more realistic examination of rates of decline for unsustainable
harvests removes a fixed number from the population each
year which inevitably results in extinction. In the table
below, the number of years to extinction is shown for various
fixed offtakes from a starting population of 3,000 animals.
|Illegal harvest (% of 3,000 buffalo)
|Fixed annual offtake
|Years to extinction
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The maximum sustained yield from a population capable of
growing at 5% per annum is about 5% and quotas should not
exceed this. Far more important is that legal hunting of
buffalo for 'own use' is financially and economically short-sighted.
The returns possible
from international sport hunting of buffalo are so much
higher than subsistence uses that there is no sense in pursuing
short-term lower valued options. Moreover, there are no
short-cuts in the process: there is no sex or age class
of the buffalo population which can be hunted for meat without
prejudicing the overall potential in the international safari
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The present trophy quota for buffalo (less than 10 in the
entire Caprivi) is unlikely to have any impact on the buffalo
population. If the population as a whole is about 3,000
animals it could tolerate a quota of some 90 trophy bulls.
If, as assumed in the
financial analysis for sport hunting in the Caprivi,
there is a 'huntable population' of about 1,000 animals
outside protected areas, a quota of 30 animals would be