Organised wildlife sector acknowledges four wildlife ranchers as role models in the industry
On Saturday 6 April 2019, Wildlife Ranching South Africa (WRSA) presented its prestigious annual awards to wildlife ranchers in South Africa at a gala event in Pretoria. WRSA CEO, Adri Kitshoff-Botha, said the annual award ceremony should not be seen as a competition, but an acknowledgement for outstanding performance, creativity and innovation in various categories ranging from game breeding, conservation, the green economy, biodiversity and social responsibility.
Each category has specific criteria and the adjudication process involves a comprehensive assessment to select worthy recipients in each category. Annually, these awards raise the bar for the wildlife industry in South Africa and showcase examples of successful wildlife ranching businesses that other wildlife ranchers can follow. There were eight nominees from all across the country, with the following recipients eventually receiving the four awards:
WRSA Green Economy Award: Craig Geldenhuys of the Swartberg Game Reserve
Craig Geldenhuys of the Swartberg Game Reserve sets an outstanding example for the sustainable use. Swartberg Game Reserve is a self-sustaining hunting destination for local and International clients. It offers twenty different species in a diverse, free-roaming habitat. All species are bred on the farm with the emphasis on continuing improvement of genetic diversity.
Through local and international tourism, Geldenhuys demonstrates the true beauty of Africa’s wildlife as a way of life and not a once-off experience. A fully licensed abattoir supports the hunting operation that supplies meat to the local community.
Game breeder award for 2018: Anndri and Greg Garret from Dreyer Van Zyl Game
Anndri and Greg Garret started with a small number of high-quality animals which they expanded over the years on a semi extensive system. They succeeded in managing their reserve sustainably through selling animals with sought-after genetics to other breeders and hunting outfitters across southern Africa.
During the last ten years, they excelled at improving breeding results through meticulous record-keeping and herd management. Their application of scientific advances, research, innovation, nutrition, and sound veld management set them apart from other breeders.
WRSA Biodiversity and Social Responsibility Award: Irvin, Peter and Stephen Tam from Tam Safaris.
Tam Safaris near Cradock received the award for the enormous impact that Irvin, Pieter, and Stephen Tam made in their community over the last ten years. They established a school for physical and mentally disabled children, made improvements at local schools and provided aftercare and meals for children from underprivileged communities.
Tam Safaris is a popular international trophy hunting destination that breeds a variety of species for hunting in an extensive habitat. Tam Safaris operates on minimal interference and focuses on conservation and sustainable use.
Wildlife Rancher of the year for 2018: George Potgieter, Schoongezicht
George Potgieter from Schoongezicht runs a successful and self-sustaining farming enterprise strongly based on the principles of sustainable use. Outstanding characteristics of this game ranch include:
- Promoting a positive image of the South African wildlife rancher.
- Maintaining community involvement, skills development and a positive relationship among all workers.
- Demonstrating a resilience in a declining breeding market through breeding top animals in a variety of species.
- Providing a hunting destination with an authentic African experience that combines luxury accommodation and quality animals.
Issued by Wildlife Ranching South Africa (www.wrsa.co.za)
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