Media Release: KNP Rangers Show Their Mettle
Rangers from the 22 ranger sections of the Kruger National Park (KNP) gave demonstrations of their various skills today (Tuesday July 11, 2006) at the Letaba Shooting Range.
"We are confident that our rangers have the know-how, equipment and attitude to fulfil their task of safeguarding South Africa's premier national park, our beloved Kruger," commented the KNP's Executive Director Dr Bandile Mkhize.
The rangers impressed the crowd, which included members of the media and senior South African National Parks (SANParks) officials, with their drilling, fire and movement and shooting.
Of particular interest was a rehearsal of a helicopter casualty evacuation, which showed that any staff member seriously injured can be airlifted to medical care within a few minutes.
"With the increased danger that our rangers have to face every day, not only from armed poachers but dangerous animals, it is indeed comforting for us to know that we can and will use every resource at our disposal to ensure that anyone injured can be brought to medical attention as soon as possible," Dr Mkhize added.
The West Rand Branch of the SANParks Honorary Rangers took the opportunity to present the KNP Ranger Corps with a Bantam B22J Ultralight Aircraft, which will be used to patrol the vast area that falls under the rangers' responsibility.
"With this latest tool,"Dr Mkhize explained, "you rangers will able to patrol even larger areas in a shorter time, and thus you will become even more effective at your task of safeguarding the KNP."
The KNP is made up of 22 ranger sections, each one having a section ranger and an average of 10 field rangers (depending on the size and situation of the section) to patrol. Rangers use foot-, bicycle-, vehicle- and aircraft to patrol their responsible sections.
Pictured top to bottom are:
Fire and Movement Demo:
KNP Rangers demonstrate a simulated fire and movement attack on targets in a simulated poaching incident.
The first ranger to be trained to fly the Bantam, Steven Whitfield brings the ultralight aircraft down to land at the Letaba Shooting Range during the KNP Ranger Day.
The Chairman of the Honorary Rangers: Ranger Support Services Mr John Turner (right) presents the KNP Executive Director Dr Bandile Mkhize (middle) with a Bantam ultralight aircraft while Section Ranger Steven Whitfield looks on.
KNP Field Rangers demonstrate their drilling at the KNP Ranger Day.
KNP Rangers demonstrate a simulated helicopter casualty evacuation during the KNP Ranger Day.