Ricochet News

WRSA Eastern Cape holds Wildlife Rancher of the Year Awards 2016

NOVEMBER 16, 2016
WRSA Eastern Cape holds Wildlife Rancher of the Year Awards 2016

Wildlife Ranching South Africa (WRSA) represent the interests of wildlife ranchers (game farmers) across the country, and the organisation’s strength lies in its members, including land owners with an interest in wildlife, wildlife ranchers, professional hunting outfits, taxidermists, private reserves, and commercial farmers.

The Eastern Cape branch of WRSA has experienced unprecedented growth over the past few years, and represent members on provincial and local government level, as well as AGRI Eastern Cape, and other statutory bodies.

With great pride, the Executive Committee of the Eastern Cape took the lead this year, by becoming the first provincial branch of WRSA to host a formal conference & gala awards ceremony, which previously only took place at National level.

This prestigious event was held on the 29th October 2016 at the Fish River Sun Resort, and was attended by members from across the Eastern Cape, and guests of honour from across the country.

The latest developments in the industry were thoroughly addressed during the conference, and guest speakers included; Dale Cunningham (WRSA Director), Brent McNamara (Agri-EC), Peter Knipe (Wildlife Producers Association), Deon Furstenburg (Wildlife Scientist), Richard York (Golden Breeders) and Adri Kitshoff-Botha (WRSA CEO).

The conference concluded with an invigorating performance by the internationally acclaimed motivational speaker Quinton Coetzee, previously of  “Veld Focus” fame.

Despite the devastating drought in South Africa, the wildlife industry in the Eastern Cape is currently experiencing sustained growth & development. This was glaringly evident in the level of discussion on the conference floor, as well as the competition among the finalists for the “Eastern Cape Wildlife Rancher of the Year Awards”, as showcased in the video below by iGala Productions, also a proudly Eastern Cape – based company.

Furthermore, the Eastern Cape also boasts with the current National title of  “Southern African Wildlife Rancher of the Year”, awarded to Arthur Rudman in March this year during the National Gala event at Sun City. Rudman, along with Adri Kitshoff-Botha (WRSA CEO), and National Directors Tebogo Mogashoa, Dale Cunningham, and Angus Sholto-Douglas were among the guests of honour, ready to congratulate the AwardWinners at the evening’s event, hosted by Eastern Cape Chairman Gerhard Heyneke.

The annual Wildlife Rancher of the Year awards serve to honour outstanding effort and commitment, which often takes place “behind the scenes”, and may go unrecognized by the rest of the wildlife industry, who depend on the rancher for their livelihoods.

The finalists who received awards during Saturday evening’s event were:

  • Simon Amm – Lindale Private Reserve;
  • Paul Marais – Olifantskop Game Breeders;
  • Warren Rieger – Benghoil Private Reserve (Best Newcomer);
  • Emmanuel Nel – Kwandwe Signature Wildlife (Young Rancher of the Year);
  • John Rance – Kei River Reserve (Sustainable Development Award);
  • Rob Hobson – Swartrivier Wildlife (Best Herd Award); and
  • Outpost Game Breeders’ Andrew Parsons, Werner Nortje and John Ayliff – Collective (Eastern Cape Wildlife Rancher of the Year 2016).

The Wildlife Rancher of the Year represents outstanding commitment to setting new benchmarks for excellence in the industry, and the winner may go on to represent the Eastern Cape at the National Awards next year.

In honour of their selfless contribution to the wildlife industry, special Lifetime Appreciation Awards were presented to Jaap Pienaar (Department Environmental Affairs - Retired) and Henry McCarthy (NMMU – Department Agriculture & Game Ranch Management). Past WRSA-EC secretary, Mary Lou Dixon, was also honoured for her commitment & dedication to WRSA Eastern Cape.