Ownership of our Animals
Regarding ownership of animals in the Trust document. Our game is contained within our fences and the Owners of Property in Marloth Park have already in 2 Court Judgements (Supreme Court Pretoria), been recognized as the legal owners of the game and this decision is also supported by other court decisions on other cases that have followed subsequently.
In any agreement or settlement between the Trust and NKLM all game in Lionspruit and the Marloth Park township will have to go over to the Trust. One issue for consideration would be potential legal claims should someone be injured by a wild animal with the Trust being the legal owners of the game. We propose that the Trust will have to take out some form of insurance to cover them in case of such a claim.
If we needed to turn to the courts to settle the ownership of Lionspruit and our other assets, the owners in Marloth Park also have a very good case for a claim against NKLM for compensation for selling Game that never belonged to NKLM.
However- and this is at this stage a very big maybe- if we could ever be included into the Kruger Park and drop fences between Marloth & KNP in a way to allow the game in Marloth Park to become “free ranging” or under law Res Nullius, then by law, the game will belong to nobody, it also means that the Trust won’t be liable for injury caused by a wild animal that is in a state of Res Nullius.
Our Animals in Lionspruit
When we bought Lionspruit in 1992 for an amount of R2,7million, R500,000 of the purchase price was for the Game. Later more game in Lionspruit was either bought or stocked by the owners of Marloth Park, including the buffalo.
Eleven buffalo were initially bought of which 9 were cows, 1 an adult bull and the other a young juvenile bullock, all bought at a price of R1,500 each. The buffalo herd grew and by 2003 there were approximately 35 buffalo and later grew to a herd of 60 odd animals. A number of our pregnant cows were sold to John Hume for a breading project that he was running by NKLM under questionable terms and price. Many buffalo were sold to a private hunting outfitter and hunted. It is unclear how the surviving (Approximately 15) buffalo died between 2016 and 2018. We now only have one female is left.
Over the years the management of Lionspruit has been severely neglected - mainly through the lack of a proper, and suitably qualified and experienced reserve manager. During the time of NKLM’s management we lost three rhinos to poaching and later another two through drought (this could have easily have been prevented and was highly manageable). A second rhino, a female was also bought by the owners. We currently now have 2 de-horned rhino left.
We also have our two lions along with other game in the reserve.