Park rangers at Kruger National Park are upping their game. No longer just guides and conservationists, they are being trained in military tactics to fight the onslaught of rhino poachers.
With as many as 60 heavily armed groups of poachers entering the Park during a full moon, it has become so dangerous to rangers, they were forced to undergo paramilitary tactical training just to survive. They are intensely trained to track, ambush, gather intelligence and wage counter-assault operations in the modern warfare to save the rhino, and ultimately themselves.
Kruger Park is THE hotspot for poachers, since the majority of the surviving rhinos dwell there. More than 313 rhino have been poached this year, with 229 of them at Kruger. (See previous post Kruger Park: the Rhino Poaching Hotspot).
The good news is that there have been 98 arrests of poachers , 48 at Kruger. Unfortunately arrests are not enough to deter the determined would be poachers. They are becoming more conniving, more advanced and more brazen. Many of the AK-47 wielding poachers have fought in wars, and are highly trained. As if that weren’t bad enough, many of them have informants on “the inside”, as shown with the previous arrests of 30 game rangers in Mozambique who were responsible for the official extinction of the rhino in that country.
The public is often under the perception not enough is being done to prevent the poaching. Yet, the rangers are constantly fighting to keep up and adapt, in the face of modern poaching. Camouflage clothing, radio equipment, GPS tracking equipment and sniffer dogs are just some of the new advancements being utilized by the rangers on the frontline of poaching.
There is a necessity for aid in funding to provide resources such as equipment and updated training. In addition there is a constant need for more rangers to serve as foot soldiers in this bloody war.