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Wildlife Management

Wildlife Management when carried out properly can and should be a very big plus for wildlife. It is briefly the manipulation of wildlife populations and or habitat to produce either, or both, long and short term benefits to the species concerned.

The efforts may be aimed to either increase or reduce populations to ensure their maintenance and welfare. Wildlife populations were once regulated naturally by environmental factors. Then we came along and fiddled about with things, and in many cases not knowing what we were doing. Large areas of land were cleared for agriculture and in some cases doomed to failure because the terrain was unsuitable for the purpose.

Now it was unsuitable for wildlife! Therefore, some wildlife management was required. We were committed to the manipulation of the environment.

Wildlife management aims basically to reduce the magnitude of population fluctuations, by either cropping or providing additional habitat over critical periods. In some cases this extends to the restocking of some areas where a decline has occurred below a critical level, as well as the recovery of otherwise lost habitat. It is a big umbrella, sheltering many species in a fragile situation. A number of these are identified as ‘specified’ game species. That we have an interest is undeniable; that it may be audacious is true, that it has existed longer than any other is fact.

An ecosystem is a kind of life support system, a community of interdependent organisms within an environment of interaction. Logically if one part goes then so goes the other. ‘If there were no deer, there would be no deer hunters’. There are those who would say ‘three cheers’, for classic is self interest and the social illusion of echoic patronism.

The proper management of wildlife is our hope for the future. It is important that the various Government agencies charged with this responsibility, address themselves to the task in a dedicated manner so that as land managers for wildlife in trust, they will become trusted wildlife managers.

Wildlife management itself has many facets, one of which is game management, included within the framework of wildlife management but having a greater resource interest and catering for a positive customer group. With regards to deer, other agencies, as well as those of the agricultural persuasion, have developed a mild interest. Let us hope that the latter never ever exercise control over wild deer. It would be like putting a rabbit in charge of a lettuce!