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Kleinmond game farm proposed

Wildlife may soon roam the wetlands near Kleinmond if a proposal to establish a game farm is approved.

Elephant Ventures Africa CC has applied for environmental approval to develop a game farm with tourism facilities at Lamloch, situated on the R44 next to Rooisand Nature Reserve, east of Kleinmond.

A pre-application Basic Assessment Report of the proposal is now available for public scrutiny, and the public has until April to submit comments on the report.

The proposal entails tourism accommodation including tents, chalets and a manor house, a restaurant and workshop, animal stables and enclosures and all the accommodating infrastructure.

“The applicant wishes to introduce eight elephants and other wild life for tourism purposes,” reads the report. “The elephants will be housed in an electrified enclosure at night, and all excursions into the ranch will be conducted by experienced elephant handlers.”

According to the Game Management Plan in the proposal, one of the main objectives of the landowner is that of “intensive buffalo breeding and live sales”. According to the report, “the buffalo is a high-value species that will be intensively farmed for the profits needed to finance the game ranch”.

The secondary objective is to use the natural habitats of the area sustainably for representative indigenous wildlife as a foundation for tourism and education.

Other species that may be introduced is bontebok, zebra, red hartebeest, eland, hippopotamus, buffalo, elephant (in captivity), lion (in captivity) and black rhinoceros.

Hermanus Times reported on the pending development in 2016, when the game fencing was erected around the property (“Elephant Sanctuary just a rumour”, 15 September 2016). Craig Saunders, owner of the property, told the newspaper then that he had more than 30 years’ experience in the tourism industry. Saunders is the owner of three tourism establishments, in Hartbeespoortdam, Hazyview and Plettenberg Bay, and they are known by the brand Elephant Sanctuary, which offers elephant interactions.

According to the Elephant Sanctuary website, the animals have been domesticated through “positive reinforcement animal management principals”.

“Visitors are able to touch, feed and get to know these animals. The Elephant Sanctuary is unique, in that it offers visitors the incredible opportunity to walk hand-in-trunk with the elephants.

“Enter the world of the elephant with elephant back riding,” reads the website.

Peter Hodgkins from Hands off Fernkloof urged readers to register as an interested and affected party and to familiarise themselves with the proposal, “all be it all 600 pages”.The document can be viewed at the Kleinmond library or at www.dougjeff.co.za. To register as an interested and affected party, send an email to adel@dougjeff.co.za

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