Game Ranching: A Sustainable Land Use Option and Economic Incentive for Biodiversity Conservation in Zambia


The ten provinces of Zambia were surveyed to determine number and size of game ranches situated in these areas up to the end of 2012/early 2013. Three classes of game ranches were developed as; 1) ≥500 hectares as game ranch proper, 2) ≥50 - <500 hectares as game farm, and 3) <50 hectares as ornamental. A total of 200 game ranches keeping large mammals from the size of common duiker to eland were recorded with a growth rate of 6 per year for the period 1980-2012. The largest number was ornamental 98 (49%); large game ranches were 75 (38%) and the least was game farms 27 (14%). Thirty seven species of large mammals were recorded, of which, 15 were the most abundant with impala topping the list with 21,000 individuals (34%). It was found that of the ten provinces, Luapula, Western and Northern Provinces despite being largely rural with low population densities except for Luapula did not have any game ranch. The province with the largest number was Lusaka 71(36%), Southern 59 (30%), Central 31(16%), Copperbelt 19 (10%), Eastern and Northwestern 9 (4.5% each) and Muchinga was the least with 2 (1%). The rapid increase in the number of ornamental category is mainly attributed to the rise in the development of tourist accommodation facilities and high cost residential properties. This growth provides an opportunity to convert to game ranching schemes abandoned farmlands which are not currently useful to agriculture due to loss of fertility and other forms of land degradation. Similarly, parcels of land with natural ecological limitations should also be considered for such schemes. Rehabilitation of degraded land through ranching could also enhance carbon sequestration, a factor critical in minimizing carbon emissions and other green house gases.

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Chomba, C. , Obias, C. and Nyirenda, V. (2014) Game Ranching: A Sustainable Land Use Option and Economic Incentive for Biodiversity Conservation in Zambia. Open Journal of Ecology, 4, 571-581. doi: 10.4236/oje.2014.49047.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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