21/08/2020 – Trends In the Game industry


The Eastern Cape game industry is hungry for updated research.

In 2002, this survey was initially started by Prof van Niekerk, through the then UPE, to determine the trends within the Eastern Cape game industry. Thereafter, follow-up surveys were conducted during 2005; 2008 and 2011. A brief presentation on the previous years' results is attached.

We are now revitalising the survey to provide the industry with the updated information that it needs.

We urge you to PLEASE take a few minutes of your time to complete this survey, as a survey with a poor response rate will lead to insufficient information and the results not being analysed.

Please help us help the Eastern Cape Game Industry.

Please follow the link below to complete the survey:


If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact:

Janene Ferreira (079 030 8922) or Leigh-Ann Kant (072 177 3841)

Eastern Cape Game Numbers: 2002 To 2011

The game figures illustrated in the figure below represent totals of 1 082 684 for 2002; 1 472 794 for 2005; 1 377 213 for 2008, and according to the 2011 study 1 354 007. The graph shows a growth in numbers from 2002 to 2005 -- but with figures decreasing from 2005 to 2011.

Utilization as method Of Game Management: Hunting, Cropping, Capture and Other Purposes

Hunting, as a utilization tool, has over decades been used to manage game on game ranches. The fact that game provides an income through hunting ensures that game ranchers will manage these species -- thereby also conserving them for future generations and preventing these species becoming extinct. Game cropping plays an equally vital role in management as substantial numbers of animals are removed to prevent over utilization of natural resources. Game that is cropped is either sold to local markets or the processed meats exported -- ensuring relatively good economic contributions. The capture of live game also forms a substantial part of the game industry and generates numerous streams of income. The capture and sale of rare speciesand colour variants have increased tremendously -- but what the future holds for these species is as yet unclear. The following table represents the three main forms of utilization as well as other forms employed as management tools, and the annual game totals applicable to each -- i.e. total numbers of game animals hunted, cropped, captured and utilized for other purposes -- in the Eastern Cape. Figures from previous surveys are compared to the current study results and findings made accordingly.

The number of game hunted increased from 2002 to 2008 -- with a slight decrease between 2008 and 2011.

An increase was seen in animals cropped from 2002 to 2008, but decreasing towards 2011. Animals captured also increased from 2002 to 2005 and decreased towards 2011. Other forms utilized were the lowest during 2008.

The decrease in utilization figures since 2008 (as reflected above) could be ascribed to a series of factors associated with the game industry at the time. These factors will be examined more closely next.

Factors Associated with the Decrease in Figures  

According to Le Roux (2010, ¶ 1-8), during the year 2010, several factors resulted in a drop in utilization figures of game species. Le Roux highlights the following contributing factors: the soccer World Cup, Rift Valley fever (“slenkdalkoors”), drought, legislation and regulations.

Firstly, South Africa hosted the soccer World Cup during the 2010 hunting season. Therefore, many foreign hunters cancelled their hunting trips due to the sharp rise in accommodation and transport costs for the duration of the event. Secondly, an outbreak of Rift Valley fever -- a mosquito-borne viral disease infecting cattle, sheep, goats and game -- also resulted in many problems for the game industry. Normally this disease dies back as soon as the seasons grow colder, but during May 2010 cases of animals being affected were still being recorded. The disease also had an impact on the country’s game meat exports.

Thirdly, parts of the Eastern Cape -- from Aberdeen towards Beaufort West, as well as some coastal areas -- were very dry and did not receive enough rain to sustain natural vegetation.

Le Roux further states that these factors would have prevented game ranchers from marketing their game meat -- and therefore resulting in less game being cropped.

Fourthly, the implementation of TOPS regulations drew much negative reaction from throughout the game industry and its clients due to what is regarded as unnecessary difficulties with permits. Because of the difficulties posed by these regulations with regard to the species listed, ranchers no longer wanted to have these species on their farms. As is shown in Chapter 4, this was one of the issues canvassed by the researcher in the 2011 survey and subsequently represented one of the key findings of the study.

According to Straton (2012, ¶ 2-5), another drought period during 2011 curtailed hunting seasons in various districts where no certificate of adequate enclosure on game ranches exists and year-round hunting was normally possible. Because of the severity of the drought that hit the Eastern Cape that year, hunting was restricted and the hunting season reduced from three months to two. The law further stipulated that a maximum of two hunters per property may hunt kudu within a day. As stated by Mr JJ Botha, of Botha & Son Butchery in Somerset East, sales of wild game biltong in the province were definitely affected by the restrictions imposed on hunting at the time (Straton, 2012, ¶ 2-5).

Uys (2015, ¶ 10) states further that the local game industry was affected heavily by the European Union’s ban issued in early 2011 on game meat exported from South Africa.

SA Revenue Service statistics revealed that the country had exported almost two million tons of game meat to the EU before the ban was implemented. Annually, the carcasses of 2 000 black and blue wildebeest alone were exported. The ban on game meat was only lifted in February 2014 -- leaving South African exporters struggling to regain lost revenues and re-establish markets. The reason for the meat export ban was the result of poorly managed foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) zones in South Africa. This resulted in many job losses -- an estimated 700 harvesters and factory positions -- as well as millions of rands in lost revenue (Uys, 2015, ¶ 10).

Additional reasons for the decreasing figures would be the following: game ranchers utilizing fewer animals to increase their stock figures; game ranchers not seeing the need for exchanging animals for new genes, and animals gaining higher values -- resulting in minimal utilization.

Overall Game Utilization Figures for the Eastern Cape: 2002 To 2011

The graph above reflects the number of Game utilized respectively as 211 354 in 2002; 240 723 in 2005; 271 348 in 2008, and 203 006 in 2011. The number of animals utilized shows an increase of 29 369 between the surveys of 2002 and 2005. A further increase of 30 625 animals is found between the utilization totals of 2005 and 2008. The figure thereafter decreased by 68 342 from 2008 to 2011.

Economic Contribution of Hunting Inthe Eastern Cape: 2002, 2005, 2008 and 2011

There was a definite increase in income generated by hunting in the Eastern Cape  -- with an amount of R101 620 962 generated in 2002; R153 484 527 in 2005; R218 508 449 in 2008, and the highest income generated by hunting recorded in 2011, with a total of R224 916 399. The growth in economic returns could be ascribed to the fact that hunting has become increasingly popular but also more expensive.

Economic Contribution of Game Cropped in the Eastern Cape: 2002, 2005, 2008 and 2011

The economic contribution of game cropped reflected amounts of R44 120 259 for 2002; R63 480 232 for 2005; R81 166 282 for 2008, and R64 706 290 for 2011. These figures show an increase of R19 359 973 (43.88%) from 2002 to 2005 and a further increase of R17 686 050 (27.86%) from 2005 to 2008 -- but decreasing by an amount of R16 459 992 (–20.28%) between 2008 and 2011.

The highest income generated from cropping game occurred during 2008. The decrease thereafter could be due to the factorsoutlined earlier.

Economic Contribution of Game Captured in the Eastern Cape: 2002, 2005, 2008 and 2011

The economic contribution of game captured during 2002 was R18 033 497; in 2005 had more than tripled to R60 717 898; in 2008 had risen to R92 332 401 but for 2011 dropped to R77 257 634. Income generated by game captured increased by R42 684 401 (236.7%) between 2002 and 2005. An increase of R31 614 503 was evident between 2005 and 2008 (52.07%), whilst a decrease of R15 074 767 (–16.33%) was seen since 2008 to 2011.

Total Economic Contribution of Game Utilized in the Eastern Cape Between: 2002 and 2011

The comparison between the economic contribution of game utilization figures of 2002 and 2011 revealed the following: in 2002 utilization generated R168 252 655; in 2005 had risen to R284 026 880 (68.8%), and by 2008 to R396 259 679 (39.5%) but dropping slightly to R372 945 481 (– 0.06%) in 2011.

A decrease of R23 314 198 was, therefore, evident between 2008 and 2011. As stated earlier, several factors led to the decrease in animals being utilized after 2008 -- hence the negative effects on economic contributions to the Eastern Cape during that time.