Combating poaching in South Africa’s Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park

Image of a field ranger on patrol in Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park in South Africa

As elswhere across Africa, rhinos in Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park in South Africa are faced with an ongoing poaching onslaught. The poaching intensity has been extremely high: in 2017 alone, 1,028 rhinos were killed for their horns in South Africa. As neighbouring private reserves in the KwaZulu-Natal province dehorn their rhinos and increase security, criminal gangs have shifted their efforts to focus on Hluhluwe-iMfolozi.

Anti-poaching units are working harder than ever to protect rhinos and we’re helping them to combat the rising tide of rhino poaching. So far, with your support, we’ve bought more than 200 pieces of equipment to help rangers.

Field rangers work day and night, enduring challenging and dangerous conditions to reduce poaching, and protect South Africa’s black and white rhinos. Without their dedication, the poaching numbers could be far worse.

“Rangers’ dedication and hard work is so important and should never be underestimated — or taken for granted”. Dirk Swart, Section Ranger, Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park

With the increasing intensity of poaching in the Park, field rangers have been ‘upping their game’; increasing regular foot and vehicle patrols, as well as using more horse-back patrols and aerial-assisted surveillance. Tracking dogs have also been helping to detect and deter suspected poachers.

The increased cost of protecting rhinos has put extensive pressure on the Park’s annual budget, even for everyday items such as boots and rainproof jackets.

Thanks to your support and donations, our funds have helped to pay for new field uniforms and law enforcement gear. So far, we have purchased 115 sets of overalls and 112 hats for the Park’s rangers. The project has also provided 41 field rangers with essential first aid training. Staff received a basic trauma kit, including bandages and tourniquets, which can be carried and used on patrol. With more than 1,000 rangers losing their lives during the last decade, this training could truly save lives.

Supporting the work of these incredible rangers is a key priority for us at Save the Rhino International. Equipping rangers with essential equipment helps to maintain staff morale and capacity to deal with the increasing number of poaching incursions in the Park.

“With the support received from Save the Rhino International and its donors, we at management level can effectively equip staff with the correct tactical gear, make sure they have comfortable accommodation to come home to, have good warm clothing for the long evenings and other such requirements. With high staff morale, we stand a much better chance of succeeding. Thank you to all those who contribute and support our staff”. Dirk Swart, Section Ranger, Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park

Covering 960 square kilometres, Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park is based in KwaZulu-Natal Province of South Africa and renowned worldwide for being the historical home of the Southern white rhino. The Park has also plays an important role in growing the country’s black rhino population – the Critically Endangered African species – making it well deserving of our support.

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