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DinkyBird
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Game Capture

Unread post by DinkyBird » Fri Jul 01, 2005 9:55 pm

This is a topic that I do not know much about at all and thought it might be a good idea to start some discussion on it in order to learn more about game capture in SANParks.

On TV news this evening there was an insert on this report. Nice to see these guys get some publicity.

While we were at Mountain Zebra during June, there was game capture going on there and we were able to watch from a distance for a short while. Obviously it is a highly skilled operation and demands team work.

Do SANParks have a special team that travels around the country to the various Parks to do the game capture? Are certain times of the year better than others? Who and how many are involved?
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Loams
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Unread post by Loams » Sat Jul 02, 2005 8:50 am

As far as I know, Kruger has it's own game capture unit.

The man that seems to always be in the centre of it is Dr. Douw Grobler. He is a vet for SANParks.

As far as I have seen, the Pilot of the helicopter is always consistent in the sense that the same pilot goes around with Dr. Grobler.
Game capture with darting is extremely team orientated and you need to know the person with you. I don't know if you guys are familiar with a term "dead man's zone"? There is a certain altitude range for helicopters called the "dead man zone." If you lose your engine in this zone then there is insufficient time for the formerly powered rotor to be switched to auto-rotate mode. You drop like a rock to the ground.

These men work in that zone every time they do a capturing exercise. Exciting stuff for sure, would love to accompany them once.
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Unread post by DinkyBird » Sat Jul 02, 2005 9:25 am

The guys and gals involved with the game capture we saw at Mountain Zebra were dressed in SANParks uniforms. I just wondered if they were on temp employment perhaps from local varsities. I wonder if they then moved down to Addo to do the game capture there at the moment. Obviously the staff of the Park they are working in are also involved. And the helicopter that was used was a SANParks one. If one looks at the Air services link it seems SANParks has two of these helicopters and they must have permanent pilots as flying one of those for game capture requires specialized skill as Loams pointed out. My SO flies fixed wing and was very impressed with what we saw the pilot do (so that is saying something). I'd say the SANParks pilot flies mostly in the 'dead man's zone'. It was quite something to watch him manoeuver the plane.

Loams - as far as I know Douw Grobler does not work for SANParks anymore.
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Unread post by DinkyBird » Sat Jul 02, 2005 9:52 am

The reason I started this thread under the "Animals" topic is because apart from learning more about the people who do the game capture, I am keen to learn more about the affect on the animals. Obviously they are fairly stressed. How do they identify a herd of antelope to relocate - which animals from the herd are choosen, how do they 'sort' them? Do they 'shoo' them all into the fenced area and then sort them from there releasing unsuitable ones. The larger animals are obviously darted and then loaded for transportation.
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Game Capture

Unread post by Naturesguy » Sun Jul 03, 2005 12:07 pm

You are right, Douw Grobler no longer works for SANParks. He has started his own game capture company. The translocation of any animal is always stressfull, which the game capture unit tries to minimize with a sedative drug. Normally the entire herd or family would be captured for translocation, as is the case with elephants. Over the years it has been learned that to break up a family of elephants can and often does result in
nasty occurances later on, as was the case of young elephant
bulls translocated to the Pilansberg Park.Only specially selected family units are now translocated from the Kruger.
SANParks do indeed have their own game capture unit, and they are often used in all areas. I remember when Douw Grobler and his pilot together with SANParks capture unit staff went to Malawi to help translocate game from one park where
animals were being poached, to another more secure park. Amongst the anomals was a herd of very rare roan antelope.

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Game Capture

Unread post by Meinfam » Mon Nov 07, 2005 8:20 am

In May we reported suspicious movements of people to the SAP on the road between P/kop and Afsaal.
20 minutes later Hennie and the team was with us, landed on the tar at Afsaal, and took the matter further.
Thank you Hennie, and the team, for keeping us and the animals safe.

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SANParks air wing

Unread post by KNP Spokesman » Mon Jan 16, 2006 8:17 am

Hi Forumites

I was actually looking for something totally different and stumbled on this thread, and thought I might add a different perspective to this discussion.

SANParks has quite a vibrant air wing with a number of aviation assets. First on the list are our two Eurocopter EC120 helicopters (as seen in this photograph). Traditionally we used Bell Jetrangers in this role but we have found the running costs of the two EC120s as being LESS than the single Jetranger we had before.

Incidentally, Hennie has told me that our helicopters are the most used EC120s in the world and Eurocopter often send representatives (from France, the country of origin) to come and inspect them, so far they are in excellent condition and have had very few incidents or breakdowns. They are simply lovely to fly (both as a pilot and as a passenger) and can land just about anywhere in Kruger without hassles. Fantastic machines!

Because they are so versatile, they are used extensively across the country and can be spotted anywhere were SANParks has an operation. Although they are permanently based here in Skukuza, they might be deployed to Table Mountain, Addo, Augrabies or any of the other parks. We try and keep at least one of them "on duty" here in Skukuza for incidents like this mentioned and they are used for just about anything from law enforcement to game capture.

Our pilots, Hennie, Grant and Mark, are also some of the best in the business and we are all very proud of them and their abilities. Hennie is the longest serving of the three, Grant was actually a conservation student in Kruger a few years ago and decided to change his career direction slightly and become a "conservation" pilot (very admirable I think) and Mark has done all sorts of charter, commercial and bush flying for most of his life.

Secondly, we have a twin engine Partenavia Observer which is mostly used for animal census operations. This is also based in Skukuza and is one of the few examples of this unusual aircraft in South Africa.

And lastly we have two Cessna high wing single engine aircraft, a C182 based in Skukuza and used as a light communication aircraft and sometimes for anti poaching patrols and a C206 which I have never seen as it is based in the Cape and is used for anti poaching operations in our coastal region parks.

Recently, the purchase of more aviation assets was approved but more about that later ...

Some of my more memorable experiences in the KNP was when I have accompanied our pilots on various operations.

Kind regards
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Unread post by DinkyBird » Mon Jan 16, 2006 7:06 pm

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Snapped these pics in MZNP last year during a game capture excercise.
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Unread post by Imberbe » Fri Sep 22, 2006 11:22 pm

Yes you guys are correct, SANParks has their own gamecapture team. It is full time staff and very professional at that. It is in fact organised in to two sections.

The one section is based in Skukuza in Kruger. They have big bomas and offices there. If I am correct the current leader there is Markus Hofmeyer (He might not be the chief?). He took over after Douw Grobler left.

The Southern section is based in Kimberley, but do work all over the show. They in fact quite often work in Kruger also and has done a lot of work in trans locating animals to the new park in Mozambique. They are currently busy removing all the game from Vaalbos National Park, which is being de-proclaimed.
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