Posts Tagged With: Kruger

Ngwenya, the first APU canine

Canines are a highly sought after and integral part of the most successful anti-poaching units. With advanced training, their keen skills enable rangers to be more effective and efficient.

But initially people were skeptical the canines could be effective in an environment alongside the Big Five.

In 2010, the first canine was trialed in Kruger National Park. Ngwenya (whose name means crocodile), proved her critics wrong. Since then, there no less than 50 working dogs in Kruger alone.

Fight for Rhinos proudly supports the HESC (Hoedspruit Endangered Species Center) and OPC (Ol Pejeta Conservancy) APU canines.

Please donate to keep the ranger’s dogs working, and the rhinos safe.

Ngwenya, photo: Ravi Gajjar

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Poaching not the only Threat Looming in the Bush

As if poaching and habitat encroachment weren’t enough, South African wildlife also face the threat of Tuberculosis. First diagnosed in African Buffalo, it then spread to  baboons, lions and bushpig. More recently it has also effected  leopards, *cheetahs, *wild dogs, honey badgers, mongooses, warthogs, kudu, nyala, bushbuck and *rhinos. (*endangered)

Buffalos rest in the shade at the Lake Nakuru national park in Kenya's Rift Valley, 160km (99 miles) west of the capital Nairobi, December 18, 2009. World leaders worked through the early hours to try and beat a Friday deadline for a deal on cutting emissions and helping poor countries cope with the costly impact of global warming. REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya (KENYA - Tags: ENVIRONMENT SOCIETY ANIMALS) - RTXRZAL

*Buffalos are a reservoir or maintenance host for TB. photo: Thomas Mukoya/REUTERS

All mammals are susceptible, and it spreads quickly throughout the ecosystems.

It directly impacts animal productivity and health, but the long-term consequences to their survival are yet unknown and in particular the direct effects on survival of endangered species is worrisome. Lions in particular have suffered a 35-75% decline from TB in current lion populations over the last two decades. (Professor Michele A Miller, Stennenbosch University)

Wildlife are not the only victims of TB. The disease originated in cattle; which in turn are used for human consumption. In 2013, it was the leading cause of human death in South Africa.  (World Health Organization)

TB rates in SA

The lack of diagnostic tools for most species and the absence of an effective vaccine make it currently impossible to contain and control.  With the ever-increasing number of domestic livestock and their expanding contact with wildlife, the disease is perpetuated.  It is merely a matter of time to see what effects it will have on both humans and Africa’s ecosytems.

cattle south africa

With a thriving beef market in South Africa, the issues of wild and domestic animal interface will not diminish anytime soon. photo: South Devon Cattlebreeders Society

 

 

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Rhino Wrap-up 2015

We can’t emphasis enough how important YOU are to the success of Fight for Rhinos. Thanks to all of you, this is the difference we were able to make in 2015..

*The dehorning of Hoedspruit Endangered Species Center poaching survivors; Dingle Dell and Lion’s Den at a total cost of $1250.00.  This was essential in not only keeping them safe while they’re at the center, but also in preparation for their eventual return to the wild.

DSCF8213

Lion’s Den & Dingle Dell photo: Fight for Rhinos

*A total contribution of $3080.00 to Ol Pejeta Conservancy for

  • Rhino audit (to carry out an independent verification of all individual rhinos on OPC ($2000 usd)
  • Monitoring equipment – 6 GPS devices @ $ 180ea
black rhinos ol pejeta

Black rhinos at Ol Pejeta Conservancy, Kenya. photo: OPC

 

*Three months of funding to cover expenses of the Black Mambas APU, including food, supplies and miscellaneous expenses (at a total of $2345.00 usd)

black mambas training

Black Mambas training. photo: Protrack

We’re already working hard on our next campaign, funding a critical human tracking course for an APU located in southern Kruger National Park, to prevent them from losing further rhinos.

help rangers illustration by sophia

THANK YOU for helping us to help them!

Please continue to follow our progress, and as always ANY amount you are able to contribute is extremely helpful and appreciated. Together we ARE making a difference!

 

 

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Rangers can’t do it alone-they need your help!

“Truly speaking, I didn’t believe it until the third day after. I asked myself why did this happen in OUR section? I didn’t know what to do, but deep down in my heart I was hurting seeing that rhinos lying helpless, (killed) for its horn.

One thing that kept coming in my mind was How did these people manage to get to this place without  anyone seeing them?   Many questions kept coming but with no answers.  As for my heart it was painful, as it is now answering these questions. I’m hurt; and your must remember if a rhino is poached under your supervision there’s a lot of suspense; and as a young field ranger like me, it can make or break your career.

All you have to do is to be mentally fit and tells yourself that tomorrow I’ll do better to save this species.”

ranger near poaching

Ranger at site of a rhino poaching incident in Kruger 01/15. Kate Brooks / Redux Pictures for Al Jazeera America

This ranger, as with many on the battlefields of the poaching war in Africa, is frustrated, and in need of help; help to fight against the scourge of poaching that threatens not only an entire species, but his career and family.

Rangers are trained in areas of wildlife; tracking animals, wildlife identification, patrol tactics and techniques…but with limited funding and time, they are not all skilled at “human” tracking. This is vital to stay a step ahead of poachers.

At Fight for Rhinos, we are looking to provide this essential training to their anti-poaching unit. This APU is located in southern Kruger, a hotspot for rhino poaching. Having lost rhino already, this makes them a target. Once poachers achieve success, they will come back, looking to repeat their success.

Your donations will directly impact this area; keeping not only the rhinos safer, but the rangers as well. Please help and give what you can. Your donations and purchases are urgently needed.

Our goal is to provide the training by February.

Illustration by Sophia Maria

 

 

Categories: Making a Difference, Ranger Heroes, Rhino Ramblings | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Rhino Poaching Finally Has Zuma’s Attention

It took president Mr Jacob Zuma seven years to visit the Kruger National Park to experience the devastating effect of rhino poaching first-hand.

Although Zuma had been in Kruger before, this weekend was the first time he was there for the sole purpose of familiarising himself with the extent of rhino poaching and the efforts being undertaken to curb the massacre.

Conservation experts are concerned that government is not doing enough to curb poaching. Zuma tried to put the critics at ease, saying that he personally came to Kruger “to demonstrate the highest level of commitment by South Africa to address this challenge”.

zuma meeting with rangers

Zuma met with ranges in Kruger.

On Sunday, he witnessed the darting of a rhino cow for the purpose of relocation, visited a rhino-poaching crime scene, partook in a wreath-lying ceremony for SANParks rangers, unveiled the Joint Operations Centre (JOC) and addressed communities bordering Kruger, urging them to put a stop to the pandemic.

The president was taken to a scene where a rhino had been poached about three days prior. The media didn’t accompany him on this leg of the trip.

“Kruger is the epicentre of the poaching crisis and there are up to three incursions per day. It is clear that the fight we face is huge and brutal. Earlier today I witnessed first-hand the magnitude of this challenge.”

“Many of you may know who the poachers are. You may know someone who has been offered money to kill an elephant or dehorn a rhino. You may have been approached to undertake such an activity. By blowing the whistle you are not only protecting the species, but also the legacy of your children and grandchildren.”
“Let’s work together to promote and protect our animals. Together, let’s move South Africa forward,” Zuma concluded.


NOW IT’S OUR TURN! WHAT YOU CAN DO-
We have been calling on President Zuma to step up and show some real interest in protecting our rhino. I see this as a positive move – we have nothing to lose but to thank him, encourage him and urge him to continue to give the plight of our rhino his best attention.
Please consider dropping him a message via this link provided: http://www.thepresidency.gov.za/pebble.asp?relid=65
Thank you so much fellow ‘rhino warriors’ – our voice is all we have to urge those in a position to actually do something, to do so – every voice counts – thank you for speaking up for our rhino !

via Ayesha Cantor

white rhino mom and baby with birds kruger AP photo

White rhinos in Kruger. AP photo

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Shooting the Rhino Wars

The following is video from Sky News, who has been given access to behind the scenes work in Kruger National Park. The first 3 minutes show the grim reality of a poaching. After, there is more light-hearted footage of the “babies”.

Categories: Rhino Ramblings | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Welcome to Kruger, home of the Rhinos

Kruger National Park is home to the majority of the Earth’s remaining rhino populations. So what else do we know about the rhinos’ home?

*Kruger National Park is the largest game reserve in Africa. It spans across 19,633 square kilometres, basically the same size of Israel or New Jersey.

crocodile bridge south entrance

*There are 9 gates accessing the park, adding to the difficulty to monitor and patrol human activity in the park.

*It is also home to 336 tree, 49 fish, 34 amphibian, 114 reptile, 507 bird and 147 mammal species.

*In 1869 (before the park was officially even founded), a gold rush exploded in the region, which resulted in the side effect of a significant decrease in game due to hunting and trading of animal horns and skins.

paul kruger and james stevenson hamilton

(L) Founder,Paul Kruger (R) James Stevenson Hamilton, the first game warden

*The park  itself didn’t come into existence until 1898, when it was founded  by Paul Kruger.

*The first game warden was appointed in 1902.

*The first motorist officially entered the park in 1927. Today Kruger has over a million visitors a year.

rhino crossing at kruger by marla sink druzgal

Rhino crossing at Kruger by Marla Sink Druzgal

*There are important archaeological ruins in Kruger, providing ample evidence that prehistoric man roamed the area between 500,000 and 100,000 years ago.

south african national defence force

The South African Defence Force has been added to enhance the anti-poaching strategies in Kruger.

Of course the biggest current threat to Kruger is poaching. The parks anti-poaching efforts consist of:

  • employing 650 rangers
  • receiving additional assistance from the police and National Defence Force
  • drones
  • a canine unit

Kruger holds a rich history, and it’s role to the future of the world’s rhinos, makes it a critical area of protection and preservation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Ladies of the Black Mambas APU

Olifants National Park

Black Mambas are deployed in 5 areas throughout the 50,000 hectares of Olifants, which is part of the Greater Kruger National Park.

Fight for Rhinos and Helping Rhinos proudly support the Black Mambas anti-poaching unit; a primarily female APU established in 2013 to protect the Olifants West Game Reserve.

The objective of the Black Mambas is not only the protection of rhinos through boots on the ground but also through being a role model in their communities. These women work to the concept of the “Broken Window” philosophy and strive to make their area of influence the “most undesirable, most difficult and least profitable place to poach”.

Recently we asked two of the rangers, Shipwe and Collett, about their jobs…

Shipiwe

Shipwe

Collett

Collett

FFR: Why did you join the Black Mambas?

Collett: Seeing rhinos being killed each and everyday, it helped my heart to make a decision that enough is enough with the killing. I joined the Mambas to stop the killing.

Shipwe: I joined to help make a difference in saving and protecting our rhinos.

FFR: What is the toughest part of being a Black Mamba?

Collett: Seeing a dead rhino carcass in front of me makes my heart bleed and it disturbs me a lot.

Shipwe: Knowing that we are dealing with dangerous people. I mean poachers you don’t know where you’ll find them out there in the field, but we know how to handle it.

FFR: What aspects of your job do you enjoy the most?

Collett: Doing road blocks, searching cars that are going out of the reserves for unpermitted things.

Shipwe: Sweeping

Black mambas marching

The Black Mambas main objective main objective is to search and destroy poacher’s camps, wire-snares and bush-meat kitchens every day.

FFR: Do you feel you’re treated differently than men in APUs?

Collett: No, they treat me as an APU, not as a man or a woman.

Shipwe:  No, I feel treated very well. It seems we are the first females to be in this field.

FFR: What have you learned since joining the Mambas that you didn’t know before?

Collett: How to do a bush walk.

Shipwe: I have learned how to interact with animals of all kinds because I work with them almost everyday.

FFR: What can your community do to best support you?

Collett: Stop coming from the reserve and poaching, because these people are coming from our communities.

Shipwe:  By organizing meetings so that I can go and teach them, young and old people, about saving our nature and reserves.

Stop killing rhinos black mambas

FFR: You are an inspiration to your community, as well as to girls who may not have thought of being in a APU before. What would you say to girls or women who are thinking of doing the same job?

Collett:  To do this job is not simple, so they need to be in love with animals and have a mind-set of wanting to protect our rhinos more than to think about money or other stuff.

Shipwe:  I can say to them they need to have a big heart to do it, because it requires all your energy, your ability to think and the courage to do it.

The Black Mambas have identified and destroyed over 12 poachers’ camps and 3 bush meat kitchens within the “buffer-zone” as well as reduced snaring and poisoning activities by 76% within their area of operation since their deployment in 2013.

To continue to support their endeavors, consider donating to Fight for Rhinos in the US, or Helping Rhinos in the UK.

 

Categories: Ranger Heroes, Rhino Ramblings | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Fight for rhinos…It ain’t over

It’s getting to be that time of the year again…the time when we start comparing stats of rhinos poached to the same time last year, praying that the numbers are less, looking for signs of a slow-down.

Regrettably, that is not the case. The number of rhinos poached will rise beyond last year’s 1,004. This is the reality.

BUT what is also the reality is…that there were 54 arrests in Kruger last month…that the facts on rhino horn and poaching are starting to spread throughout Vietnam…and that rhinos are being moved to areas of lesser poaching.

While some see the rising numbers and want to give up, we see the numbers and are spurred on to fight.

It is not time to give in. They are in peril, but they are not gone. The rhinos still need us, and we are still fighting. Fight for Rhinos and Helping Rhinos are working on some promising endeavors. But we need your help.

Unfortunately money truly does make the world go round. We can only do what your donations allow us to do. We appreciate any amount of support. If you are able to purchase an ornament or send in a donation, or even to share our cause with others who may be able to help, it will make a difference.

Endelea Kupigana…it’s not just a saying, it’s a promise.

white rhinos stu porter

White rhinos via Stu Porter

 

 

 

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Rhino Sales Will Continue at Kruger

In August SANParks announced a plan to relocate 500 rhinos OUT of Kruger for their protection. Shortly after, plans seemed to come to a halt with the controversial discovery that 260 of them were contracted to be sold to hunting outfitters. (see previous An Epic Move and Rhino Safekeeping in Question)

SANParks has just announced the sale of Kruger’s rhinos will resume. According to SANParks chair Kuseni Dlamini,

“Relocation is the core of our approach, not only to combat poaching, but to ensure the continued growth of the rhino population.”

Kuseni Dlamini via Lowvelder

Kuseni Dlamini via Lowvelder

The goal of the move is to

1. remove rhino from high risk areas to keep them safe
2.create rhino strongholds in low or no population areas to stimulate growth

So what’s different this time?

Dlamini stated to Oxpeckers,

“A due diligence process will be followed with all sales, including background checks on prospective buyers. Anyone wanting to buy more than 20 rhinos has to comply with habitat and ecological suitability and security requirements.

“The due diligence process includes a risk assessment to ensure the safety of the animals, and buyers will be required to present a security plan that ensures the animals’ safety, as well as a conservation plan.”

Rhino will be auctioned off later this year. And the money? According to SANParks, it will be put back into conservation for the rhinos.

white rhinos stu porter

White rhinos via Stu Porter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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