What Is a Game Reserve?

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  • Written By: B. Koch
  • Edited By: Susan Barwick
  • Last Modified Date: 19 October 2019
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A game reserve is a protected area where animals, especially those considered to be "game," can live. Reserves are free from poachers and human encroachment. These reserves may be state owned or privately owned, and they may be open to tourists or restricted. The majority of game reserves do not allow hunting on their premises, but in some areas hunting is allowed but carefully monitored. Game reserves provide a place for endangered animals to thrive in their natural habitat.

Typically a game reserve is an area of land that is marked as protected from hunters and poachers. These areas are created in order to protect animal species that are typically hunted for food or sport and which are often referred to as "game". Building and construction is also not permitted within reserve boundaries. The creation of these protected areas allows these animals to thrive without the threat of hunting and human encroachment on their habitat.

Although most game reserves prohibit hunting, some do allow it. For example, the Selous Game Reserve in Tanzania permits hunting in specific parts of the park. While hunting is permitted, it is strictly monitored by the government. The revenue from hunting permits is given back to the reserve, and is a significant source of income for the park.


These areas of land may be owned and run by states and countries. Game reserves can also be owned by private individuals, and may be open to public use or preserved for private use. One game reserve in Kenya, the Masai Mara, is owned by the indigenous people known as the Masai.

The majority of game reserves are found on the African continent. Not only are animals protected in these areas, but they also function as tourist attractions. While some parks do not allow visitors, others encourage them. Tourists visit the reserves in order to participate in safaris on which they can view animals such as elephants, lions, and antelope. Tourist resorts and lodges may be set up around the reserve to provide visitors with easy access to the area.

It is not unusual for visitors to come to game reserves to view the resident animals, visit scenic areas, and participate in outdoor activities. Often these areas are located in spots of great natural beauty, which is another draw to these regions. Game reserve owners may also encourage activities such as rock climbing or snorkeling, depending on the area.


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Post 3

@bythewell - Which is why the best game reserves work with communities and try to become a force for financial good as well as environmental good. Maybe breeding rhinos is outside the scope of the average villager, but they could still get a job as a park ranger. They can still benefit from the animals in a way that doesn't include poaching. That's how we can achieve long term sustainability.

Post 2

@Mor - For one thing, it is difficult to breed large animals like this in captivity. Difficult and expensive. For another, there is no simple solution like this for most of them. You can't take the tusks from an elephant without maiming the elephant. You obviously can't take the hands from a gorilla without killing the gorilla.

And you would only drive up demand, which would lead to more poaching. It's always going to be easier to creep up behind an animal and shoot it than to breed it when you can barely afford the clothes on your back in the first place.

Post 1

I know this is a controversial idea, but I actually think that game reserves would do better to allow hunters into carefully monitored areas. I've always thought it was a shame that as animals become more and more rare, they seem to become more and more sacred in our eyes. On the one hand, it makes sense, because that makes us less likely to kill them causally. But for some reason it also seems to stop us from logical actions.

For example, if rhinos are being hunted for their horns, why not breed them for their horns? They don't need them to live. It doesn't hurt them to cut the horn off. Why not breed them for the horn and then spend the money on breeding more of them, making more money and so forth, thus solving the problem.

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