Posts Tagged With: SANparks

Our Latest “Field Projects” Report

Helping Rhinos & Fight for Rhinos Donation Allocation November 2014

We are very happy to have been able to provide the funding needed for Vision Africa Wildlife to secure the last piece of software they require to complete the development of their rhino tracking product.  Our grant of £1,700 will help to protect rhinos on the Vision Africa reserves and also their neighbouring farms.

vision-africa-logo-1We are also very happy to have provided Vision Africa with a further £1,750 to purchase the required body armour for their tracking dog.  The software being implemented (above) in conjunction with the abilities of a highly trained tracking dog, who is now much better protected from the threat of running into the poachers, will we believe make the rhinos in the area where Vision Africa operate much better protected than they were just 12 months ago.


November also saw us provide sponsorship to Reserve Protection Agency in support of their Technology Demonstrations in South Africa.  The demonstrations will be supported by the Department of Environmental Affairs, SANParks, a number of private rhino owners and will help validate the merits of new technology which can be rolled out into both national parks and private reserves alike.  Stay tuned for more information as when it is available.  In total Helping Rhinos have provided £5,000 for these key initiatives that will help improve the safety of many different rhino populations.

r8-jeep-webIn addition, we provided a further £2,500 to Reserve Protection Agency as co sponsors of their latest J8 Jeep.  Along with the other sponsor, Jankel, we are really pleased to have been able to help bring this military spec jeep into South Africa where it will be located at a number of different reserves in support of their anti-poaching work, including Kruger National Park.


This quarter also saw Helping Rhinos continue their support of Game Reserves United as we provided £2,500 to allow them to purchase some key software.  This software will allow far more effective collaboration of the private reserves that make up GRU and the world famous Kruger National Park.  It is key for us at Helping Rhinos to provide essential support to the rhino populations of the Greater Kruger Park.

game_reserves_united_logoIn addition, we provided £1,500 to GRU member Balule for the purchase of a quad bike to help assist with key anti-poaching activities such as fence checking.  It will also allow rangers to move around the reserve  in a much more effecient manner, meaning they cover much more ground on a daily basis in their work to prevent poaching.


We also welcomed a new partner to our books this quarter – the Thula Thula Rhino Orphanage, based in KwaZulu-Natal.thul thula  The Thula Thula Rhino Orphanage hope to open before the end of 2014, and our donation of £3,000 will allow the management team to purchase the required veterinary and nursing equipment they need before they can bring in their first rhino orphan.  Stay tuned for more information on the Thula Thula Rhino Orphanage.


 

Of course, we continue with our adoption scheme of the northern white rhinosbased at Ol Pejeta Conservancy in thumbnail opcKenya.  Your support of our adoption scheme resulted is us sending funds totalling £1,075.  The funding raised through our adoption scheme will help maintain a safe and natural habitat for the rhinos at Ol Pejeta. See our Adoption page to see how you can help us provide even more funding to Ol Pejeta.

Thank you for your continued support! YOU make this happen!
Please consider making a donation to help us continue our work in saving rhinos.

Categories: Making a Difference, Rhino Ramblings | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Rhino “Safekeeping” in Question

runnin rhinos

It’s no secret that South Africa has been gunning for legal trade in rhino horn. This has been their agenda all along. But with the recent CITES convention, independent analysis from varying groups and global public pressure; it’s evident they may not get their way.

Yet rhino continue to be slaughtered. So what options do they have?

They could have stricter laws against poaching. Straight jail time with no chance at a lessened sentence or parole would be a good start. Prosecutors who specialize in poaching and trafficking crime, who have no choice but to implement the stricter law, and a shoot-to-kill policy for their rangers, combined with immunity for those rangers put in a shooting situation.

Zuma could direct funding toward supplies for rangers and APUs, and work in tandem with other countries to stop the massacre. As President, he has the power to set the tone by conveying a no tolerance policy.

BUT instead they choose to send the rhinos away. Mr. Zuma “Is it really easier to change locations for hundreds of one ton animals instead of changing laws?”

zuma meme 2

Still, this move could almost be applauded if they were only being moved to a country like Botswana, a country with a no-tolerance, shoot-to-kill policy against poachers. A country where trophy hunting is now obsolete, a place further away from the scourge of poachers thriving in Mozambique.

BUT losing out on the money that legal trade would’ve given them, they have to make it up somehow. So half of the rhino being moved, are being sold to hunting safaris. (This move, which was denied repeatedly by SANParks and Edna Molewa, has been in the works since November of 2013 according to Oxpeckers)

hunter in sun

Winterhoek , Chapunga and Steyn Safaris are the three in contract with the rhino purchases.

Like a bad episode of Lost, the twists and turns in the rhino saga continue to respond to questions with yet more questions. The corruption and mere incompetence continue to leave the world shaking their heads and wondering at the outcome.

Is there really no super power to swoop in and save the day? Can no one step in, take the reins from these bumbling fools and say “Enough!”?

Attorney Christopher Bean, Terri Stander, Shadow Deputy Minister of Environmental Affairs, and Allison Thomson of OSCAP have requested an urgent investigation into these contracts with the hunting safaris.  Hope for a more reasonable outcome lies with them.

For more on the rhino move, see SANParks Allegedly Sold Rhinos to Hunting Farms for ‘Safekeeping’

Wildlife SA cartoon WAR

via WAR

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Molewa with rhino

Categories: Rhino Ramblings | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Dare to Hope

Stop the presses!

MAN DONATES $24 MILLION (R255m) TO FIGHT RHINO POACHING IN SOUTH AFRICA!

Rub your eyes, read it again. Yes, this is for real. American philanthropist, Howard Buffett donated this phenomenal amount to SANParks (South Africa National Parks) on Monday.

Buffet is no stranger to charitable contributions in Africa, having made previous donations toward alleviating poverty, with particular concentration on areas of conflict.  He sees this as a link in the chain, stating

“When you see what conflict does to people, you cannot turn away. That conflict is fuelled by rhino horns, elephant ivory.” 

Howard Buffet in Cameroon

Howard Buffett in Cameroon.

Long-term plan

Over the next 30 months, there is a campaign in place throughout Kruger National Park to stomp out poaching through improved intelligence.  It will provide

the rangers with badly needed technology and equipment. Some of the equipment will include:
*aerostat balloons
*helicopters
*land vehicles equipped with electronic sensors to track poachers
*fencing sensors near the Mozambique border

An aerostat balloon similar to this one along the Mexican/US border, will be used as the "eye in the sky" to monitor Kruger National Park.

An aerostat balloon similar to this one along the Mexican/US border, will be used as the “eye in the sky” to monitor Kruger National Park.

According to SANParks CEO David Mabunda this is a “bankable project” since South Africa contains the world’s only viable rhino population. Indeed they are home to over 80% of the world’s remaining rhino. For every international tourist in Africa, eight  jobs are created. Without the Big Five like the rhino, there are no safaris, thus no jobs.

“All we need is a game-changer … this donation will give us technology. We need to know when the poachers pitch up on our border so that we are ready for them and have a kind of welcome for them, ” said Mabunda.

As part of the answer to the war on poaching, in 2012 retired military major General Johan Jooste was named to lead the charge. According to Edna Molewa, Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs in SA, Jooste’s plan was “starting to bear fruit”.

If this is true, could the generosity of Buffett be just the push the rhinos need? Dare we hope?

Categories: Good News, Rhino Ramblings | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

SANParks, the Epicenter of the Poaching War

Helping Rhinos and Fight for Rhinos have teamed up with SANParks (South African National Parks)  in Kruger National Park.

Kruger National Park is home to around 65% of the world’s rhinos.  Devastatingly it is also home to around 60% of the rhino poaching victims in South Africa.

To save the rhino, it is imperative to focus on Kruger, which unfortunately has become the epicenter to the war on poaching. By teaming up with SANParks, we will support their anti-poaching efforts.

n 2013 SANParks launched their Ring-Fenced Rhino Account, meaning that all donations made in aid of rhinos will go directly to cause.

All the fundraising we carry out in the name of SANParks will go directly to their Ring-fenced rhino account, so you can be sure that you are contributing directly to the protection of the largest population of rhinos left in the world today.

London meeting

Meeting with Richard Benyon (centre), the Minister for DEFRA (dept for environment, food and rural affairs UK), Gen Jooste, Simon Jones (Helping Rhinos).

The Kruger Park anti-poaching activity is headed up by Major General (ret) Johan Jooste, and slowly but surely the General’s activities are bearing fruit.  When asked if we are winning the war with the poachers the General is honest enough to respond with “not yet”, but he is confident that the war will be won.  And having spent time with the General at a series of meetings in London (read more about those meetings here) and in the Kruger Park we are confident he will implement the strategies needed to start reducing the number of rhinos poached in the world famous and iconic park.

kruger map

Categories: Making a Difference | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

WTH is going on in Kruger?

Kruger National Park: Ground Zero

Out of the rhino poached this year, 550 of them have been killed in Kruger National Park.

In the last five years, a total of 1457 were reported killed in KNP.

83% of the worlds remaining rhinos exist in South Africa,  making Kruger the epicenter for illegal poaching.

“The game is different here at Kruger National Park because the poachers that come from other countries, particularly Mozambique, are armed with AK47s, grenades and axes. They don’t play, these poachers mean business” says Colonel Bolelo, ,who is heading anti-poaching operations at SansPark (who operates Kruger National Park).

autopsy rhino in kruger

Autopsy of a poached rhino at Kruger.

What’s Being Done

In March of 2013, South African National Defence Force (SANDF) deployed 265 soldiers into the Park and around the borders after a plea for help from the South African National Parks (SanParks). The soldiers are there to train, support and backup the rangers.

A new high-tech Gazelle helicopter has been donated to the fight. With high-speed, night vision capabilities, it should make pursuit of poachers easier and quicker.

Previously high-tech, low-speed recon planes were deployed to help track poachers in the region. The Seeker, as it was called, was donated by Paramount, the same group who donated as the Gazelle.

So with the manpower combined with technology, why is poaching still so prevalent?

kruger troops

Soldiers in KNP.

The Crux of the Problem

Size: at 7580 sq mi, there is hardly enough manpower to monitor the vastness of the Park.

Location: Being bordered by areas of high unemployment and poverty (Zimbabwe, Limpopo and Mozambique), the rhino in the Park are like diamonds in a mine waiting to be taken.

Most problematic is Mozambique, which is the origin of the majority of poachers entering Kruger, confirmed last month by former Mozambican president Joaquim Chissano. Speaking at the launch of a wildlife preservation foundation in Maputo, he said 70% of rhino killing in South Africa could be attributed to Mozambicans. This is borne out by South African arrest figures in connection with cases of suspected rhino poaching which show that 68% are from Mozambique.

Prosecution: While the forces are working hard to apprehend the poachers, justice is rarely served. According to Colonel Bolelo “Within two months we had over 56 arrests but the dockets got lost. Once the dockets have gone missing the case is over and the suspects are released.” With this level of corruption, poachers are rarely sentenced, and IF they are, the low-level fines and  minimal jail time are not a deterrent.

jail not bail

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In the midst of this war, there are rumors of  drones being dysfunctional, soldiers not being deployed at the borders, helicopters not in operation due to funding, and of course the usual suspected corruption.

With that being said, the rhino poaching rate continues to soar, currently reported at 920. Yet, South Africa claims to be able to cut its rhino poaching by 20% next year, according to General Johan Jooste, who heads the Kruger National Park anti-poaching task team.

What will make the difference?

In January, Bolelo will find out  if hot pursuit will be allowed for his troops. While currently rangers and military are not allowed to cross the border into Mozambique (as their laws are different and far more tolerant to poaching) the hot pursuit option will mean approval to track suspected poachers across the international border without fear of reprisal.

Following talks between South Africa and Mozambique,  it is hopeful there will be increased cooperation between the countries which could lead to more arrests and ultimately more convictions.

In addition, cash rewards for information are being offered to the public to the tune of R100 000 for a successful arrest of a suspected poacher, as well as a whopping R1,000,000 for a successful conviction of a poaching syndicate mastermind.

Finally, the Paramount group is promising more donations in the form of ranger training, canine units for tracking, and more technology.

“The war against poaching is not yet won, but we can reduce the figures… it’s an ongoing process,” said  Jooste. “This fight against poaching is not about an individual and success depends on the collective collaboration and commitment from the men and women tasked with the responsibility of conserving our heritage.”

kruger sign

Categories: Rhino Ramblings | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Merry Christmas Rangers: Please take a moment to thank them!

Rhino Friday holiday

While we’re eating turkey and opening gifts around a tree in our cozy homes, rangers are standing guard in the bush ready to fight. These men and women put their lives on the line every day to protect our rhinos and elephants from the evil clutches of poachers.

A few months ago, there was a letter writing campaign to “thank a ranger”. What better time to do it again, than at Christmas!Please take a moment to give them hope and inspiration. Let them know how much they mean!

Please go to the SANParks facebook page and post your messages of support and well wishes for the holiday and the new year.
 

Categories: Rhino Ramblings | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

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