Habitat Africa

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Fi****ms, Hunting, Sport Optics, Cameras, Camping and Outdoor Supplies At Habitat Africa we offer you the very best selection of hunting rifles, shotguns and handguns in South Africa available online at very affordable prices.

In addition to our hunting equipment, we offer camping and other outdoor supplies.

Operating as usual

Howa Blued Barrel Actions- Habitat Africa | Gun Shop | South Africa 05/07/2022

Howa Blued Barrel Actions- Habitat Africa | Gun Shop | South Africa

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Lapua Reloading Brass 300 Win Mag100pcs - Habitat Africa 30/06/2022

Lapua Reloading Brass 300 Win Mag100pcs - Habitat Africa

Lapua Reloading Brass in 300 Win Mag back in stock - Click on the image for all the product details, stock are limited!
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Lapua Reloading Brass - Habitat Africa | Gun Shop | South Africa 30/06/2022

Lapua Reloading Brass - Habitat Africa | Gun Shop | South Africa

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Swarovski Optics Hunting Season Specials - Habitat Africa 27/06/2022

Swarovski Optics Hunting Season Specials - Habitat Africa

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Swarovski Z3 4-12x50 L Riflescope BRH Reticle - Habitat Africa 27/06/2022

Swarovski Z3 4-12x50 L Riflescope BRH Reticle - Habitat Africa

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Swarovski Z3 4-12x50 BT L Riflescope 4W Reticle - Habitat Africa 27/06/2022

Swarovski Z3 4-12x50 BT L Riflescope 4W Reticle - Habitat Africa

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13/06/2022

Crisis in the Cradle of Rhino Conservation

The Natal Parks Board was once upon a time one of the most effective and admired conservation organisations in the world. With its neatly dressed, disciplined and highly motivated staff, these men epitomised the popular image of the ‘Game Ranger’, and I remember as an infatuated schoolboy writing a letter to the NPB asking how I could also become one of these superheroes. I received in return a polite typed note on an NPB letterhead, suggesting that I should go and study Zoology, which indeed I did, but my career moved in a different direction after that. The Natal Parks Board with its legendary Dr Ian Player, was responsible for saving the Southern White Rhino from the brink of extinction. So successful were they that surplus animals were spread across Southern Africa and the world. Private owners acquired breeding stock, and trophy hunting ensured that rhinos were valuable and valued animals, and their numbers continued to increase.

But the iconic Natal Parks Board is no more. The advent of a democratically elected government in 1994, and the replacement of the NPB and its senior staff by a new breed of South Africans, many motivated for all kinds of reasons other than a love of wildlife and a passion for conservation, has resulted in an organization that is mired in controversy, and a cradle of rhino conservation that is now a bloody killing ground. Now known as Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, the parks under its control have been facing an unprecedented level of poaching of both the critically endangered Black Diceros bicornis and the White Ceratotherium simum Rhinos. The onslaught has been so intense that rhino once again face extinction in this once-secure corner of Africa.

So far this year a total of 123 rhino have been poached in the province. The rhino poaching syndicates are extremely well organised, and move their operations around the country, apparently in response to intelligence about where anti-poaching activities are slack. After mainly targeting the Kruger National Park, the rhino poachers met increasingly stern resistance from the KNP’s well-organised and fortified anti-poaching staff, equipped with sophisticated remote sensing devices, helicopters, trackers and dogs. Then followed a shift to the rhino populations in the Eastern Cape, but since 2012 the KZN parks, particularly Hluhluwe iMfolozi Park (HIP), have been targeted. Numbers have escalated since 2012 (50 killed), 2014 (100 killed), 2016 (150 killed) and 2017 (200 killed).

Back in 2016, a task team was commissioned by the former KZN premier, Willies Mchunu, to investigate issues around rhino poaching and related criminal activity in KZN, including the role of provincial and national government departments and bodies dealing with such matters. The team comprised representatives from the following organizations:

1. Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife;
2. South African Police Services;
3. Directorate of Public Prosecutions;
4. Office of the Premier;
5. State Security Services;
6. An international Policing Expert;
7. A legal expert from the Ian Player Foundation.

Curiously, the representatives of the South African Police Services and the State Security Services were withdrawn at an early stage, and no support was received from the Directorate of Public Prosecutions. This contributed to a significant delay in the remaining members finalising this report, which was delivered to the current provincial premier, Sihle Zikalala, more than two years ago. There was considerable public interest in the findings and recommendations of the task team, but its members were forced to sign non-disclosure agreements and were sworn to secrecy.

Eventually, in May 2022, after the Democratic Alliance had made a court application for public access to the document, Premier Zikalala released Part 1 of the report. It is a shocker, and a serious indictment of Ezemvelo and its Board and senior staff members. Too long to report on fully here, a few extracts will help convey the contents of this report.

The Rhino Security Manager, while based in Durban, was appointed to manage and co-ordinate all rhino poaching matters…(he) had no control or command over other resources deployed on the ground, and in particular had no authority over any staff in the Reserves.

We were advised that Ezemvelo has its own internal Wildlife Crime Investigation Team, however Rangers that we interviewed reported that they had no interaction with this team, and as such could not express any opinion or sense of confidence in them. This lack of co-ordination appeared to us to be a major gap in anti-poaching efforts.

Of particular concern is that the most qualified and experienced investigator was withdrawn from rhino crime investigations and is now based in the Ukhahlamba Region. In the light of the poaching crisis it would be common sense for the most experienced and competent investigator to be deployed where his skills would be of most benefit.

It was also noted with concern that due to the change of companies procured for helicopter services, experienced pilots who had an intimate knowledge of the terrain were changed for new pilots who would have to gain the necessary experience.

During the investigations of the Task Team it was evident that challenges in leadership and management had a direct impact on the efficacy of anti-rhino poaching activities. Poor management practices has led to a breakdown of morale in the organization, this being felt acutely by rangers on the ground who are the mainstay of anti-poaching activities within the boundaries of the various parks.

The CEO also indicated that the working relationship between him and the Board was poor, causing adverse consequences to the wellbeing of the organisation generally. One of the complaints of the CEO, echoed by various levels of management, was that certain Board members frequently meddled in operational activities, by becoming involved in the day to day management of the organisation and directly interfering with the work of the CEO and management.

A startling example of the Board exceeding its mandate was its involvement in a potential agreement between The Royal Rhino and Elephant Reserves of Southern Africa (Pty) Ltd. Effectively, this agreement would have outsourced nature conservation in the KZN reserves to the abovementioned corporation, the Board would have abdicated its statutory obligations to protect and manage protected areas within the province, to a private company with vested financial interests.

Other leadership challenges involved the concentration of senior staff at head office in Pietermaritzburg who would be responsible for all procurement and other major decisions.

It was apparent to the Task Team on its visits to the reserves that the standard of tourism facilities had dropped significantly. In the Hilltops Resort, maintenance issues on buildings were the subject of frequent complaints by international tourists.

Until recently the Park Manager of Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Reserve did not reside in the reserve but in fact lived in Durban some 300 km away from his area of responsibility. This anomaly was allowed to continue even though this was contrary to policy which required that the Park Manager resided in the park.

The previous Conservation Manager for iMfolozi Reserve, although he did have a residence in the Reserve, reportedly was seldom found to be in the reserve and spent most of his time living outside the area.

The Conservation Manager for Hluhluwe was reported to be often absent from his post.

And so it goes on and on about a provincial conservation agency in disarray, failing in its responsibilities to safeguard the biodiversity of South Africa, in accordance with the requirements as a signatory to the Convention on Biodiversity. The low morale of the men on the ground, a park manager who did not even live in his park, the general breakdown of discipline and pride: these are fertile grounds for disaffected employees who will pass on information to the poaching syndicates, sweetened by some welcome cash, perhaps? And shipping your experienced rhino crime investigator to the Drakensberg where there are no rhinos? Just to make it a bit easier for the poaching syndicates, perhaps?

And the early withdrawal of representatives of the South African Police Services and the State Security Services from the Task Team? Well now, there’s a thing… could it be that the poaching syndicates are so powerful that they hold influence over both organizations? It would appear to be the case, judging from an exposé on Al Jazeera television news showing camera footage of a former Minister of State Security in apparent possession of a poached rhino horn.

And surely the national Minster for Forestry, Fisheries and Environment should be taking a strong interest in this festering sore in our national conservation matrix? Well, no, she seems to be very busy with her draft Climate Change Bill, which has been described as “a monstrous absurdity”.

With a caste of characters like this holding the future of a critical rhino population in their hands, what hope is there for their future prospects? Not much, I fear…

Dr John Ledger is a past Director of the Endangered Wildlife Trust, now a consultant, writer and teacher on the environment, energy and wildlife; he is a columnist for the African Hunting Gazette. He lives in Johannesburg, South Africa. [email protected]
PHOTO - From Rhino Conservation Awards Website

Howa ELR Ultimate Warrior - Habitat Africa 03/06/2022

Howa ELR Ultimate Warrior - Habitat Africa

Howa ELR Ultimate Warrior - Habitat Africa Habitat Africa online gun shop offers the best selection of hunting rifles, rifle scopes, shotguns, handguns, bullets, brass, reloading supplies and more.

Swarovski Z6 5-30x50 P BT L Riflescope BRH/BRX Retrofit Reticle 31/05/2022

Swarovski Z6 5-30x50 P BT L Riflescope BRH/BRX Retrofit Reticle

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Swarovski Z6 5-30x50 P BT L Riflescope 4W Reticle - Habitat Africa 31/05/2022

Swarovski Z6 5-30x50 P BT L Riflescope 4W Reticle - Habitat Africa

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Swarovski Z3 4-12x50 BT L Riflescope 4W Reticle - Habitat Africa 29/05/2022

Swarovski Z3 4-12x50 BT L Riflescope 4W Reticle - Habitat Africa

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Swarovski Z3 4-12x50 L Riflescope BRH Reticle - Habitat Africa 29/05/2022

Swarovski Z3 4-12x50 L Riflescope BRH Reticle - Habitat Africa

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Swarovski Z3 4-12x50 L Riflescope BRH Reticle - Habitat Africa The Swarovski Z3 4-12x50 L Riflescope BRH Reticle offers the same high-precision optics that Swarovski riflescopes are known worldwide for. With a slim and rugged body, the Z3 rifle scope is perfectly suited for many hunting applications.

Swarovski Z3 4-12x50 L Riflescope BRX Reticle - Habitat Africa 29/05/2022

Swarovski Z3 4-12x50 L Riflescope BRX Reticle - Habitat Africa

Swarovski Z3 4-12x50 BRX Riflescopes available on our Swarovski Optics Hunting Season Special, the ultimate Bush Hunting Optic - stock are limited - click on the image for all the product details.
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Swarovski Z3 4-12x50 L Riflescope BRX Reticle - Habitat Africa The Swarovski Z3 4-12x50 L Riflescope BRX Reticle offers the same high-precision optics that Swarovski riflescopes are known worldwide for. With a slim and rugged body, the Z3 rifle scope is perfectly suited for many hunting applications.

Swarovski DS Gen2 5-25x52 Riflescope 4A-I Reticle - Habitat Africa 29/05/2022

Swarovski DS Gen2 5-25x52 Riflescope 4A-I Reticle - Habitat Africa

Swarovski DS Gen II available on our Swarovski Optics Hunting Season Special, the ultimate rangefinding Hunting Optic - stock are limited - click on the image for all the product details.
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23/05/2022

WAR IS PEACE – Online Reactions to The Death of Tolstoy the Tusker. By Hank’s Voice

Tolstoy, the human, was a Russian writer in the 19th century, best known for his voluminous novel, War and Peace.

Tolstoy, the African savanna elephant, was a tusker, best known for his long tusks desired by photographers and tourists and for raiding farmers’ crops in Kenya.

Another famous author, George Orwell, is known for writing a slogan that begins with, “War is peace,” in his well-known book 1984.

It is a paradoxical term that means society feels a certain unity in hating an enemy, regardless of whom they perceive as such.

Unfortunately, humans are quite proficient at this, forming stronger bonds by mutually hating someone than by liking that person.

Social media platforms, with their emphasis on reacting via emojis or commenting remotely, with no direct human contact required, are perfect places to view this principle of mob mentality in practice.

A recent case in point was in late April when Tolstoy the tusker died from an infected spear wound inflicted by a farmer protecting his crops.

Human-elephant conflict in Kenya is a constant battle, as elephants, with their gargantuan appetites, can consume hundreds of kilograms of food each day and destroy crops by trampling them also.

But it’s not just crops that get damaged.

Farmers suffer from the loss of their annual food supply, income, time and sleep while trying to protect their plantings and, most tragically, their own lives at times.

Between 2010 and 2017, more than 200 Kenyans were killed by elephants.

And the Kenya Wildlife Service must shoot impossibly problematic elephants, 50 to 120 annually, according to the most recent figures published.

Yet the death of just one elephant – Tolstoy – due to an infected spear wound by a farmer protecting his livelihood, which monetarily likely only yields him a few hundred dollars a month, and risking his life to do so, was met with global furor.

Angry people who likely can’t even imagine living on such a meager income, have never grown their own food or suffered from food insecurity, rarely come into firsthand contact with potentially very dangerous animals, and feel that their desires to view or photograph elephants supersede the needs of and realities faced by people who must live amongst and alongside elephants.

Online critics, commenting on public pages from the comfort of their homes and computers, mostly far away from rural Kenya, condescendingly referred to farmers there as “these people”.

A classic case of human-human conflict created by human-wildlife conflict.

A hate fest ensued that asserted the person who did this was stupid, cruel, despicable, incomprehensible, ruthless, and disrespectful.

The mob declared this person should be shamed, do lifelong community service, be educated for appreciation of endangered species, be victimized by karma, haunted by Tolstoy, should have hell come after them, and be punished by the government.

They stated they were ashamed of people like this and that he should be killed, but that action was stated in an indirect manner, presumably to avoid social media surveillance.

It was also proclaimed that farmers have no respect for authorities who try to protect elephants.

These are the same authorities, of course, who were not mentioned as protecting the lives and livelihoods of farmers, as well.

Armchair critics also maintained that farmers should not plant tasty things and no one has the right to deny food from wildlife.
Shame should be placed on the owner of the spear, who is growing crops for his family on land where elephants have lived for thousands of years.

You know, in Africa, where the fossil record has shown, it is where humans first evolved.

Respondents maintained that these people must learn to respect life besides their own and that animals are so much better than humans.

Elephants are magnificent living beings who must not be killed for eating crops because it is instinctual to survive and in order to survive wildlife must eat.

What could that farmer’s crop be worth anyway, they implored.
There was a striking paucity of comments from local people.

But two that stood out, and that no one replied to were that - our crops are more important than useless elephants, and if you want elephants so much, then take them away with you.

These thoughts were in direct contrast to the person who claimed they just wanted to die surrounded by elephants.

Presumably, the farmers do not share that sentiment, hoping instead that they do not die in such a circumstance.

Little was mentioned as to how elephant lovers might help.

One suggestion that funds could easily be raised to reimburse farmers for their losses was met with only silence.

Another suggested reconsidering spending tourism dollars in Kenya as too many elephants get killed there.

Tolstoy, the elephant, is gone, but the challenges and realities of human-elephant conflict will live on.

Human populations in Kenya are expanding, with a subsequent need for more land conversion.

Elephant populations are also increasing, but their habitat is decreasing.

Many of the elephants in the Tsavo and Amboseli areas are speared multiple times throughout their lives.

One named Tim, an age cohort of Tolstoy, was collared and monitored after he’d been speared three times.

In the first year of tracking him, he made 183 attempts to enter farmsteads.

Only 50% of which were successfully thwarted by the people monitoring him. Crop raiding is a problem that is inevitably going to increase.

Literary analysts state that a major meaning of Tolstoy the human’s book, War and Peace, is that although you are a product of the world you live in, you must interact with others who have different perspectives in order to understand or possibly eliminate your own assumptions and prejudices.

The commenters on social media following the war is peace model are not doing this.

They can only see their own views, yet they expect the world to understand and respect their limited perspectives.

Tolstoy also wrote that, “The sole meaning of life is to serve humanity.”

Human-elephant conflict cannot be solved by addressing the needs of elephants only.

Nor by granting elephants personhood or elevating their status above humans. Humanity must be extended to the humans involved as well.

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