A notice published in the Government Gazette in April on the reclassification of 33 wildlife species went largely unnoticed at the time.
But an article written by Don Pinnock in October said their reclassification as farm animals through an amendment to the Animal Improvement Act, set an international precedent for "such an extraordinary domestication of wild animals".
On Afternoon Drive with John Maytham, Dr Peter Oberem says the affected species (including lion and rhino) were not classified as farm animals, it's rather a case of the industry being classified as an agricultural activity.
The game rancher and former president of Wildlife Ranching South Africa says because of the controls in place in the past, wildlife ranching had been throttled.
He contrasts the different approaches of the Department of Environmental Affairs with the Department of Agriculture, which has now taken over.
They (Department of Environmental Affairs) looked at things from a very biocentric point of view, which means that they were trained in conventional conservation almost in a colonial sense, where everything outside of the city is wild. Africa is different - the population grew up and is integrated with wildlife.— Dr Peter Oberem, Game farmer and former president of Wildlife Ranching South Africa
The Department of Agriculture has got agricultural views, in other words these animals can be utilised. They're a commodity.— Dr Peter Oberem, Game farmer and former president of Wildlife Ranching South Africa
He says this approach creates a value for the animals.
People see them as an asset and therefore people look after them.— Dr Peter Oberem, Game farmer and former president of Wildlife Ranching South Africa
Listen to the conversation here:
This article first appeared on CapeTalk : Controversial reclassification of wildlife a positive move, says game rancher