Date of this Version
In an earlier paper (Hey, 1964 an account was given of the topography and climate of the Cape Province, a description of the vertebrate animals and birds which might be considered to fall in the category of problem animals and the control methods used. The present paper will, therefore, deal with advances in control techniques which have since been made. At this juncture, it would be appropriate to record our sincere appreciation to the Director and Staff of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and particularly to the Senior Officers of the Denver Research Center, District Agents Malcolm Allison and Milton Caroline and the members of their field staff for invaluable advice and assistance in dealing with our problems. Mr. Malcolm Allison spent three months in the Cape Province adapting coyote getter techniques to meet our conditions. At the outset it must be stressed that in contrast to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, our Department does not undertake the direct control of problem animals. The control programme is based on a system of technical and financial aid to existing hunt clubs and local authorities. Any hunting which is done by officers of the Department is merely incidental to the training of hounds or the testing and perfecting of new techniques. The system of technical aid was planned to replace the old bounty system gradually, and this aim has now been realized except in areas where no hunt clubs exist. The Cape Province, covering an area of 277,000 square miles is largely subdivided into farms. State land is chiefly limited to the mountain ranges under the control of the Department of Forestry, and used for afforestation and water conservation purposes. The Province is subdivided into 92 Divisions, each controlled by a Divisional Council which deals with matters such as roads, public health and predator control. The legislation relating to this latter function empowers the Divisional Councils to subdivide their divisions into wards and establish hunt clubs in each. Such hunt clubs are established at the request of the local farmers. The number of clubs in a Division may vary from one to five, depending upon the type of agriculture, the topography and the hunting methods used. The Department of Nature Conservation subsidises the clubs and furnishes technical aid in the form of equipment, trained hounds and undertakes the training of hunters. Periodic inspections of hunt clubs are made to ensure that these are functioning efficiently and to advise hunters on the field application of the latest techniques. While the Department endeavor’s to render all reasonable assistance to clubs, the actual elimination of problem animals is the responsibility of the individual farmers and their hunt clubs. This system is proving increasingly effective and is sound conservation practice, for animals are hunted only when they are a nuisance and not merely for the sake of hunting. The present problems relating to specific animals will now be discussed.