EXTRACT FROM THE FOLLOWING THIRD PARTY SOURCE: Written by Adrienne Carlisle for Daily Dispatch
A member of a prominent game conservancy near Grahamstown, South Africa, has launched an urgent application to interdict another conservancy member from quietly trophy hunting a magnificent white rhino bull and other game of the conservancy.
The conservancy, which includes renowned Lalibela Game Reserve, Kichaka and Bayeti, is billed as being a large eco-tourism habitat where game, including the big five, roam freely.
After learning that a rhino trophy hunt was being planned on Lalibela for next week, Tim Fenner, the owner of luxury eco-tourism lodge Kichaka, decided to take on Bayeti Conservancy in the Grahamstown High Court to urgently interdict it from hunting any species in 2015, including the white rhino bull.
According to court papers, Bayeti is the the owner of all the game and the manager of the conservancy and also owns and operates Lalibela Game Reserve. Reserve founder Rick van Zyl is the director of Bayeti.
Fenner’s company Hillside Safaris developed luxury five-star Kichaka Lodge at a cost of some R25 million on the conservancy. According to court papers, the conservancy agreement specifies that game may not be hunted in the so-called “Big 5 Game Area” of the conservancy except for culling purposes and then only under the strictest of conditions. Fenner says in an affidavit that none of these conditions have been met.
He claims in his affidavit that a hunting operation, John X Safaris, belonging to Van Zyl’s son Carl, had been tasked with the hunt and had obtained the necessary permit on behalf of an unnamed client to carry it out.
In an exchange between Kichaka and Bayeti’s lawyers earlier last month, Bayeti claimed that the “culling” of the white rhino, as well as two lion and two buffalo, had been agreed to at a meeting of conservancy members in February and that Kichaka manager Keith Craig had been present. But Fenner says only he and not Craig was the conservancy member and it required Fenner’s agreement.
A transcript of the meeting attached to the court papers reveals an unnamed representative of Bayeti saying they would get R1 million out of the hunt of the old rhino bull and this would be used to buy more rhino.
Fenner points out that if there was a legitimate reason to hunt the rhino there could be no reason not to disclose this to the game rangers.
When contacted telephonically to find out if Bayeti would oppose the application, Van Zyl emphatically refused to comment and terminated the call.
The matter is set down to be argued on July 9, just one day before the date of the alleged hunt.