CEO of SANParks congratulates Kruger National Park rangers on the recent arrests
There has been a successful increase in the number of arrests of suspected poachers in the Kruger National Park, bringing the number of arrests to 56 since the beginning of 2015. The rangers of Kruger National park, assisted by aerial and canine support, have so far, managed to substantially improve the effectiveness of anti-poaching operations within the Park.
In a dramatic swoop shortly before sunset recently, SANParks rangers, supported by the Dog Unit, the SAPS reaction team and a helicopter donated by the Howard Buffet Foundation, netted two suspected rhino poachers following a sighting in the Phalaborwa area of the KNP.
During the arrests, the team recovered a 458 hunting rifle, ammunition and poaching equipment, along with two sets of rhino horns. In a previous incident, rangers conducting anti-poaching patrols early morning in the southern region of the KNP came across signs of a group of poachers operating in the Park and discovered a freshly killed rhino with its horns removed. The rangers immediately called the Joint Operations Centre in Skukuza for additional aerial and canine support. The newly acquired anti-poaching helicopter along with a ranger reaction team and tracking dogs were immediately dispatched to the area to support the rangers on the ground. Shortly after the arrival of the reaction force, the rangers arrested four suspected rhino poachers and managed to recover a heavy calibre hunting rifle, ammunition, hunting equipment and a fresh set of rhino horns.
Last month a second state of the art Airbus AS 350 B 3E helicopter donated by the Howard Buffet Foundation and was commissioned into action. This brings to four the number of helicopters available for anti-poaching operations within Kruger National Park.
“SANParks, on behalf of all South Africans, wishes to thank our rangers and our partners in the SAPS and SANDF for their dedication to this fight,” says Mr Fundisile Mketeni, CEO of SANParks.
“SANParks is making every effort to increase support to our rangers in the field. Enhanced aerial support and the use of the canine units are both becoming an increasingly vital component of our anti-poaching strategy. Given the increasing number of arrests, this strategy is clearly paying off,” ends Mketeni.
Situated on the banks of the Crocodile River, Mjejane Game Reserve is South Africa’s premier reserve and the only residential estate that boasts a private bridge into the Kruger National Park. Positioned on the Kruger’s southern boundary, Mjejane boasts 10km’s of spectacular river frontage and is fenced into the Kruger Park.