A necessary part of many environmental management actions taken at Armscor’s Alkantpan test range is culling of wildlife to keep numbers and species within the carrying capacity of the land.
This year is one of the cull years at the Northern Cape test range and a tender has been issued for the “cull/capture and removal of game”.
The latest game census undertaken by Armscor showed Alkantpan was the home range of over six thousand Springbok and more than 2 500 gemsbok. It also brought to the fore that the ram to ewe ratio among the Springbok is 70:30 and a decision has been taken to remove at least three thousand Springbok rams.
Gemsbok numbers will be brought down to a thousand.
As far as utilisation of the wildlife product generated by the cull is concerned Armscor general manager: marketing and business development, Lulu Mzili, said meat from the cull will be tested by a laboratory to determine whether it is fit for human consumption or not. If yes it will be offered for sale and the revenue generated goes back into environmental management of the Alkantpan range. This includes protection of biodiversity, maintaining fences and ensuring waterholes operate.
The Alkantpan range is located in a semi-desert region and is an all-purpose ballistic test range for medium to large calibre weapons and ammunition.
The sparse vegetation and low rainfall ensure firing distances ranging from 55 to a maximum of 70km can be utilised. The range has five firing sites that can be used simultaneously and all provide personnel and equipment protection.
Related tests including insensitive munitions, hazard classification, ageing and surveillance trials are also part of the Alkantpan menu.