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Passive capture boma and internet wildlife auctions

1 July 2016

 

www.leopard.tvOne of the reasons for the rapid annual escalation in the prices of wild animals on boma auctions is the 15% annual escalating cost of using a helicopter and expensive mass-capture bomas, or chemical immobilization that requires veterinary supervision. These increasing costs have now led to the development of less expensive and less intrusive methods of capturing wildlife, including passive capture. While the active mass-capture of wildlife will remain popular when large numbers of animals are to be captured, marketable parcels can be built up gradually by passive capture while specific individual animals with specific traits, injuries or diseases can be captured. Passive capture bomas can be mobile or site-specific and they can be temporary or permanent, the latter as on Shayamanzi.

The basic approach is to use a small camp with a wildlife-proof fence and one or two rolling gates that can be controlled remotely or by hand. The bomas usually involve attractants for wildlife such as food, water and/or salt blocks. A funnelled passage from the boma leads into a series of smaller holding pens in which the captured animal(s) can be held until being sold. With mass-capture the wildlife are first captured over long distances by active herding before being transported to a set of holding pens and to be moved again to an auction pen, and then again to the property of the new owner. This means that the animals are placed under stress by being loaded and transported three times and being held in captivity twice. Most wildlife deaths occur during mass-capture, transporting and temporary captivity. Moreover, mass-capture is dictated by the ambient temperature as wildlife should not be exposed to undue exertion when this temperature is more than 25° C.

www.leopard.tvThe main advantages that the use of passive capture bomas have over mass-capture ones are that non-target animals can be released easily and without stress or that their capture can be avoided, that the absence or herding reduces or even avoids capture stress and the resultant lethal capture myopathy syndrome, that it requires relatively low investment and maintenance, that sick or injured animals can be treated, that wildlife can be treated with acaricides and helminticides for external and internal parasites, that the captured animals are not disturbed by human presence and do not try to break out and injure themselves, that wildlife producers can do their own wildlife capture in a cost effective way, that wildlife can be captured in various and even remote areas on a wildlife ranch and in terrain that does not allow mass-capture, and that suitable animals can be marketed via videos on internet auctions without having to pay commission fees to professional wildlife auctioneers. The major disadvantages are that non-target animals may also be captured because they are attracted by food, water or salt and have to be released, that possible aggression may occur among the wildlife in the capture boma, that it requires time and careful preparation to habituate wildlife to enter and leave a passive capture boma until the day of the capture, that permanent passive capture bomas have to be weather-proof, that some animals are mainly active at night, and that specific delivery dates cannot be set with any degree of certainty.

The passive capture boma on Shayamanzi was built in open woodland that is inhabited by a variety of wildlife. A feeding place, salt and waterhole serve as attraction. The boma is monitored with both daylight and infra-red video cameras that are controlled remotely via the internet from several hundred kilometres away. When a suitable individual or herd of wildlife have become habituated to entering the boma, the video image is used to evaluate their quality and quantity. A radio signal is then transmitted over the internet to activate the rolling gates to close the boma gates and the animals usually remain peacefully in the boma. By advertising the individual or parcel on the internet with the video material as backing, an internet auction is held and the successful buyer can arrange the transfer of the wildlife to his own property. The concept is still being improved as experience is gained. Yet it is a significant step forward in capturing selected wild animals with a modern technological approach that causes the minimum of stress and capture-related mortalities in wildlife. This process has been patented by Shayamanzi Game (Pty) Ltd.

 

Reference:

 Bothma, J du P 2010. Passive capture methods. In J du P Bothma and J G du Toit (Eds), Game ranch management, fifth edition. Pretoria: Van Schaik, pp. 569 – 580.

  

article by Prof J du P Bothma

 

 

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