The SANParks Honorary Rangers (HR) donated R1.75 million worth of counter poaching equipment to the Kruger National Park (KNP) rangers at a handover ceremony in Phalaborwa on November 3, 2011. The donation was 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, especially rhino poaching. To date, 196 rhino have been poached in the KNP, compared to 146 rhino killed last year. South Africa has lost 347 to rhino poachers so far this year.
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 donation of almost ten tons consisted of back packs, compasses, camouflage equipment, first aid kits, tents and a variety of other field equipment. The HR, 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.