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Award-winning rancher ‘works with nature’

04 April 2016
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Award-winning Eastern Cape rancher and businessman Arthur Rudman has built his family-run empire on a simple premise – work with nature and not against it.

The founder and CEO of Blaauwkrantz Farming Enterprises pioneered the sustainable utilisation of wildlife resources in South Africa and has grown Blaauwkrantz Safaris into one of the country’s premier hunting destinations.

Founded in 1978, Blaauwkrantz Safaris operates from the Rudman’s 92 000-actre family ranch, located only 45 minutes from Port Elizabeth’s airport.

Now home to 26 animal species and sub-species, and around 10 000 heads of free-roaming wildlife, the original land was bought by Rudman’s grandfather in 1936 at the estate auction of Cecil John Rhodes’ brother.

The property is now home to the entire fifth generation Rudman family, as well as a number of fifth generation employees.

What makes Blaauwkrantz unique is that it is an extensive game ranch with sustainable herds of a variety of species in their natural environment.

When Rudman began farming with his family after matric and a stint in the army, he acted to conserve the region’s dwindling kudu population by enclosing a 3 000-hectare portion of Blaauwkrantz Farms to protect and increase numbers of the Eastern Cape kudu.

“My initial reason for becoming a game farmer was therefore not a financial one, but for the conservation of an entire species,” said Rudman.

“We sold our first kudu for R60 in 1975 and in 1978 the first international hunter paid R350 for his trophy kudu bull. Today, it is worth R20 000.”

Rudman’s company is multi-faceted and includes meat processing, breeding programmes, environmental research, hunting safaris, hospitality, charity involvement, social upliftment initiatives and staff development programmes.

He and his wife Trinette live and work on the property with their three children Eardley, Francois and Zani and their families.

Blaauwkrantz Safaris has hosted on average 95 international hunting and 40 to 50 non-hunting clients annually over the last 15 years, with an average 650 trophies taken per year.

While the hunting business is booming, Rudman and his team focus strongly on conservation of indigenous species.

“We have the largest privately-owned herds of kudu, bushbuck, bushpig, grysbok and grey duiker in the world – all the original species when I started ranching.”

The ranch also runs 10 000 Angora goats, 3 000 Boer goats and 2 000 Dorper sheep.

Rudman’s emphasis on sustainable, environmentally-friendly management practices include the integration of domesticated farming and game management strategies that allow game to thrive sustainably in an extensive natural environment.

The ranch also allows for maximum free range movement; breeding is through natural selection and game animals are not administered with antibiotics.

“Animals eat 99% natural vegetation and no land is cultivated, thereby keeping our carbon footprint to a minimum.”

The Rudmans are also committed to renewable energy, with the planned erection of 26 wind turbines, pending a completed environmental impact assessment (EIA).

In recognition of his substantial achievements, Rudman was named Southern African Wildlife Rancher of the Year by Wildlife Ranchers South Africa in March.

“We farm in harmony with nature, making use of all natural resources available to us.”

For more information, visit www.blaauwkrantz.com.