Kruger National Park is facing a major poaching challenge with 196 rhino having been poached this year alone. That is already considerably up from the tragic record of 146 rhino in 2010, and a major slice of the 347 rhino which have been poached country wide.
The SANParks Honorary Ranger
s has stepped in to provide Kruger’s field rangers with the necessary equipment to help manage the poaching war. The Honorary Rangers has provided the field rangers with R 1.75 million worth of counter poaching equipment, during a handover ceremony held in Phalaborwa on the 3rd of November 2011.
The donation of almost ten tons consisted of back packs, compasses, camouflage equipment, first aid kits, tents and a variety of other field equipment. It has been made possible by the “Unite Against Poaching”
collaboration between the SANParks Honorary Rangers and Unitrans VW and Audi dealers. Unitrans donates R 500 to counter poaching for every vehicle they sell. This money is channelled by the Honorary Rangers to areas where it will make a fundamental difference in the war against poaching.
During the hand over ceremony, the managing executive of the Kruger National Park, Abe Sibiya, welcomed the donation. Sibiya says the rangers face quite a number of challenges and given financial constrains, are not always adequately equipped. He added that dealing with poachers is a very complicated issue because they keep changing tactics all the time. The rangers need to constantly adapt to face the new tactics. "Sometimes they work at night and sometimes they prefer to keep very, very far from any other activity. So it's important for us to make sure that the rangers have the necessary equipment."
The chairperson of the Conservation Services unit of the SANParks Honorary Rangers, John Turner, says they have realised the importance of training and equipping the park's field rangers as key people in this poaching war. This is why the Honorary Rangers, is committed to support the counter poaching teams with all they need, enabling them to do their work more effectively.
The SANParks Honorary Rangers, which is a volunteer run organisation, is ideally placed to raise and channel support, without having to siphon off funds to run the organisation. Because of their close working relationship with SANParks they are able to channel support to areas where it is going to make a real difference in the counter poaching effort. All this means that precious resources are effectively deployed in the war to stop poaching in its tracks.
Issued by: Louis Lemmer, NEC Public relations and Marketing, SANParks Honorary Rangers.
Some of the counter poaching equipment supplied to Kruger National Park field rangers.
Mr. John Turner (SANParks Honorary Rangers) hands the counter poaching equipment donated by Unitrans and the SANParks Honorary Rangers to Mr. Abe Sibiya (Managing Executive Kruger National Park).