The economic potential of game hunting on a small reserve.
McKenzie, Margaret Caroline Mary.
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There is an increasing recognition that conservation projects need to provide tangible benefits to the communities involved in them. In Africa a common method of providing economic benefits to communities is to sell the right to hunt wildlife in conservation areas. The Makasa Nature Reserve is a joint project between a conservation body and a community. The reserve is a conservation project that aims to provide economic benefits to the community involved. There are a number of possible income generating strategies for the Makasa Nature Reserve. This study is an examination of the revenue that the reserve could generate from game hunting. There are a number of wildlife species on the reserve that can be hunted but buffalo are the most attractive to hunters and the most lucrative for the reserve. In order to determine the number of buffalo that can be harvested a two-stage approach was used. Firstly, a deterministic mathematical model of the buffalo population was developed in the study. This model was used to establish age structures of the buffalo population which will maximise a given objective function. An age structure that has a harvest level that will maximise the revenue of the reserve was selected as being the most appropriate for the buffalo population at Makasa. In the second stage a stochastic model of the buffalo population was developed which incorporated environmental and demographic stochasticity. A management policy for the buffalo population, which was based on the age structure that maximises revenue, was developed. The stochastic model was used to aid the development of the management policy and to determine the average harvesting rate of buffalo from the Makasa reserve. Using the information gathered on the harvesting rate of buffalo and combining it with the likely harvesting rate of other species from the reserve, it is possible to get a broad picture of the likely economic potential of game hunting on the Makasa Nature Reserve. This approach of determining the offtake of the economically dominant species in the reserve and then combining this information with the likely offtake of other species in the reserve can be generalised and applied to similar reserves.