Kruger National Park Steps Up Fight Against Poachers



By Lynette Strauss


With the appointment of 57 new field rangers, the Kruger National Park (KNP) is stepping up its crime fighting ability against the increasing incidences of rhino and other animal poaching.

This according to South African National Parks, chief executive, Dr David Mabunda, who said the new recruits will be adopting a multi-disciplinary approach and will draw on the skills and expertise of various law enforcement agencies involved in the fight against poaching of South Africa's fauna and flora.

"We as a conservation agency and the public at large are paying a high price with these senseless killings of our animals, while some leader of a syndicate is winning the minds and hearts of ordinary and poor members of society to be on the frontline of these evil operations."

Dr Mabunda was speaking at the recent field ranger training pass out parade which took place in Skukuza in October. Mabunda warned poachers that their ‘days are numbered.' "We are on their trail and closing up quickly on them." He said the country continues to lose animals through poaching.

"Since the beginning of the year the country has lost 94 rhinos, of which 38 was lost in KNP, seven in Gauteng, nine in Limpopo, five in Mpumalanga, 10 in North West, four in the Eastern Cape and 21 in Kwa-Zulu Natal."

"Since the beginning of the year the country has lost 94 rhinos, of which 38 was lost in KNP, seven in Gauteng, nine in Limpopo, five in Mpumalanga, 10 in North West, four in the Eastern Cape and 21 in Kwa-Zulu Natal."

The Kruger National Park is divided into three regions - Nxanatseni in the north, Nkayeni in the central area and Marula in the south. There are 22 ranger sections.

The parade was inspected by SANParks top rangers, Dr Mabunda and high ranking officials of the SAPS and SANDF border patrol units. According to Dr Mabunda a total of R5, 2 million has been invested in the fight against poachers.

"The funds allocated have been used to acquire amongst others motorbikes, bicycles, a bantam aircraft to be used in patrols and night surveillance equipment as poachers often conduct their operations at night.

Dr Mabunda welcomed the decision by the South African Government to return the military to patrol the 450 km national border on the eastern boundary of the KNP.

The withdrawl of the military forces in this area three years ago increased the burden of Kruger's rangers . "Discussions with the military are already at an advance stage and an announcement in this regard will be made soon. Photo: Laura Mukwevho

Photo:

The South African National Parks, chief executive, Dr David Mabunda and lieutenant colonel Gavin Willard of South African National Defence Force inspect the pass-out drill.



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