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by Jannie Parsons

Who and what is responsible for most wildlife losses amongst wildlife farmers? If fewer animals breed, there are fewer animals during hunting season and this will increase the prices of the animals. It´s a case of supply and demand. Wildlife is exactly that: WILD. It is very difficult to keep track and count of them in the bushveld.

Wildlife losses have many causes: draughts, floods of fencing, illnesses, ticks, age, lightning, fires, fights amongst the animals, injuries, snake bites, predators, wildlife thefts, infertile animals, wrong species for the location and then perhaps the most important one of all POISONOUS PLANTS such as poison leaf in the Bushveld. There are no reliable studies available that show the percentage contribution for each of these causes. However, there are studies that say that the average growth of wildlife is between 25% and 30% per annum.


Unfortunately the leopard is blamed for most of the wildlife losses when in fact the culprit is most probably poison leaf that kills out expensive wildlife and let them die a slow and painful death. With the crippling drought all around it is the poisonous plants like poison leaf that will sprout first and animals can eat the new leaves with a bit of grass. (Poison leaf is a small leaf that grows out of the ground as part of an underground tree.)

On the other hand, predators will first hunt on old, ailing or injured animals but this way the weaker gene is killed out and the herd grows stronger.

Inspect the ranch for poisonous plants, especially in autumn and spring, before suspecting leopards or other predators.

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