About Ludum

Hunting, Conservation, and Economy

Why we cull

The first game to be introduced to the 8800-hectare Mabalingwe farm back in 1989, was a couple of Hippos, White Rhino, and Sable antelope. A few years later, in 1996, elephants, originally from the Kruger National Park, were relocated to the Reserve as part of a rescue effort, and soon thereafter a herd of buffalo was introduced. Since then, the game at the Reserve has thrived and today more than 40 species of mammal and more than 220 bird species call this ecosystem, consisting of mountains, savannah and African bushveld, home.

However, as the game numbers grew over the years so also did the number of people that visit and reside on Mabalingwe on a full-time basis which meant an increase in conflict and challenges associated with managing the game in a manner that ultimately protects both animals and humans. As such the game owners established “Ludum” in 2018, meaning Game in Latin, not only as being necessary, but also as part of their vision to manage and conserve the game that calls this Reserve home, in such a way that it ensures their preservation whilst simultaneously also protecting the interests of the Reserve’s residence. Ludum will also be used as a vehicle to have ownership of the animals vest in the property owners.

While some deem hunting to be a cruel, unnecessary, and unethical practice, it remains the "backbone" of wildlife conservation in South Africa. Unfortunately, modern hunting gets a bad reputation. Many environmental and wildlife activists see it as a brutal sport in which hunters kill for the sake of killing.

Hunting is one of the oldest and most essential practices in human history. Before it was primarily a sport, it was a way of life, dictating where humans migrated and when. Hunting serves many roles today—a challenging recreational activity, a connection to our heritage, a continued food source, preserving our environment, and impacting our economy.

Whether it is trophy hunting, hunting for meat for food, or hunting to control game numbers, it needs to be done because there is limited space in the wild game's habitat. So it does not matter to take any animal for a trophy or meat, whether it is from a trophy-sized animal or not.

Trophy hunting brings in the most money for the animals, and non-trophy-sized animals like females and young males bring in less money. All properties with wild game NEED to remove excess trophy and non-trophy almost every year, and the best and most economical and humane way is by hunting.

Environmental Impact

Research has shown that wild game positively impacts the environment/habitat. The grazing formation, a more open spread of animals in a herd, causes less soil compaction from hoof action than livestock would. Over-opulation of livestock causes soil compaction, preventing rainwater from penetrating the soil to replenish underground aquifers; worse, water flows away at speed, taking topsoil with it. The seed bank, the life of any habitat, sits in the top inch of soil. If the topsoil is lost, the seed bank is gone, and the habitat's carrying capacity declines drastically, affecting all animals, wild game, livestock, and eventually people.

Mixed wild game species also positively impact habitat because each species eats different parts of the plants and eat various plants, so a mixed grazing impact occurs. Unlike livestock, only certain plants are ingested, causing a plant imbalance and resulting in lower optimization and a decline in habitat quality.

Economic Impact

Today, hunters spend the MOST money and effort on conserving wildlife, wildlands, and ecosystems than any other groups, tourists, or non hunting / anti-hunting organizations. If not for the hunters hunting in South Africa, approximately 30 million wild game animals would lose their natural habitat. The landowners on whose land the wild game occurs would need to earn their income/livelihoods from other means, e.g., beef, lamb/sheep, goats, and crops, which are not natural and can adversely affect whole ecosystems in the marginal veld farming areas of South Africa. Job creation, significant employment with better benefits to staff ( tips, better wages ), add on money into the economy of South Africa (flights, hotels, taxidermy, too many to mention all) AND conservation of wild game, all wildlife, water, habitat, and topsoil = a clear winner all around. But if hunters don't come, wildlands will be converted back to cattle, sheep, goats, cropland, and even developments like houses, villages, and mining = a total LOSS for all.

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