Comparative profitability of cattle and wildlife ranches in semi-arid Zimbabwe
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Cattle, wildlife and mixed ranching in the semi-arid savannas of the Midlands Province of central Zimbabwe were compared. Revenue in cattle enterprises was derived mainly from beef cattle while most income in wildlife enterprises was from plains-game hunting. Cattle ranching became less profitable and wildlife ranching more profitable and widespread during the 1980s. The 1989/90 survey of 50 ranches found that, in areas with abundant wildlife, greatest net revenue ha-1 was earned by mixed ranches. Profitability of wildlife ranching depended on access to off-ranch wildlife resources but lower capital requirements for wildlife enterprises resulted in less financial risk. The study did not support the claim that in semi-arid savannas wildlife ranching is more profitable than cattle ranching. It was concluded that Midlands ranchers would maximize their profits and spread risk by operating mixed ranches. Sustainable management of such multi-species animal production systems could be enhanced by the combination of individual management of cattle enterprises with a co-operative wildlife management scheme.
JOURNAL OF ARID ENVIRONMENTS
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Kreuter, U. P., & Workman, J. P.
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