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Chapter 4. - Wildlife production systems: potentials for food security

4.1 . Wildlife production
4.2. Harvesting of wildlife

Supplies of bushmeat and other wild animal products on the African continent are derived from four main sources: wild sources, game ranching, game farming and wildlife domestication.

Production from the wild: comprises protected stocks in reserved lands and stocks in unprotected areas. Depending on the population densities and prevailing ecological and political conditions; stocks in protected areas may be culled for consumptive use, while stocks in lands outside protected areas are basically communal property, where there may be little or no control on exploitation, or control may be exercised at the local level either under governmental authority or traditional institutions.

Game ranching: comprises the maintenance of wild animals in defined areas delineated by fences. It is a form of husbandry similar to cattle ranching, the animals are managed on natural vegetation although the habitat may be manipulated to improve production efficiency. The animals on the ranch are the property of the ranch owner for as long as they remain on his ranch. Animals on ranches may be exploited for meat but most ranches aim for the added value of sport/trophy hunting, live animal sales and ecotourism.

Game farming: involves the confinement of wild animal species in a semi-domestic state where they are fed and grown to required weights and exploited for consumptive use. The criteria for selecting species for farming include ease of capture, adaptability to domestic conditions. ability to produce marketable meat and/or other desired products within reasonable time. According to Eltrigham (1984), wild animal species that are farmed are no longer truly wild and represent an intermediate stage between wild and domesticated species. Common animals currently farmed include the ostrich, crocodile and various duiker species.

Wild animal domestication: by definition domestication refers to the process which results in genetic adaptation of wild animals to the extent that the animal breeds readily in captivity and its owner has some control over its reproduction. (Eltrigham, 1984; Hudson et al., 1989). The process results in detectable differences between the domestic species and their wild progenitors. By this definition, the fact that a wild animal species is tamed or is raised like conventional livestock does not make the animal domesticated although the process might eventually lead to domestication.

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