Finally, down in South Africa, we are indebted to subscriber Jim Boulton for word of an unusual hunt he took last August. Seems he was invited to hunt on a game breeding ranch in Potgitersrus run by retired veterinarian Dirk Neethling, who is breeding a large variety of game animals for sale to game ranches throughout South Africa, including black impala. Boulton took one of these animals, which he says is slightly smaller than the typical southern impala and near-jet-black in color. He says the animal is a subspecies that Neethling has developed. "He started with just one about 10 years ago and, through a careful breeding program, had increased that to over 40 when I hunted there last year," Boulton said at press time. "He expects to begin breeding them in larger quantities now." Boulton says Neethling is also breeding red wildebeest, which are not yet available for hunting. Actually, very little hunting of any sort is conducted on Neethling's ranch, which is primarily a breeding facility. Boulton says he was able to hunt there only because of his long-standing friendship with Neethling, who charged him only a trophy fee of $7,000 for hunting the impala. Hunters interested in a black impala or any of the 40 other species Neethling raises should contact Hans Van Der Biezen of JB Hunting and Video Safaris, who operates a local game ranch measuring 3,500 hectares (about 12 square miles). Animals from Neethling's ranch, including black impala, are transferred there for hunting purposes. Boulton notes he hunted this ranch with his daughter after taking his black impala and recommends the experience. The daily rate is $300 (US) per day, and that includes meals and comfortable accommodations in traditional stone rondavels, featuring separate bedrooms and bathrooms.
What about importability of black impala into the US and Europe? At press time, Van Der Biezen said he was not aware there was any problem. Boulton agreed. That leaves the question of how or whether this animal can be entered in the SCI record book. At press time, Safari Club International told us they do not have a black impala category, but........(continued)