South Africa: Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park
The Park is made up of two Game Reserves, which make up one ecosystem: Hluhluwe Game Reserve in the North and iMfolozi Game Reserve in the South. HiP is renowned worldwide for being the historical home of the Southern white rhino, following the successful ‘Operation Rhino’ efforts in the 1950s to bring back white rhino from the brink of extinction.
Kwa-Zulu Natal has the greatest density of rhino in South Africa, and Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park is home to an incredibly important population of both white and black rhino.
As elsewhere throughout Africa, Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park’s rhinos’ biggest threat is from poaching for the international illegal trade in rhino horn. While poaching pressure remains intense in Kruger National Park, there has been a shift towards other provinces, with KwaZulu-Natal, and Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park in particular, suffering from the changing pattern of poaching.
The poaching intensity has been truly high. During this time, aviation support, the canine units, and field ranger teams having been working extremely hard under challenging circumstances to carry out anti-poaching and monitoring activities.
How is Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park tackling this problem?
Due to increasing intensity of poaching in the Park, field rangers have been stepping up their monitoring and patrolling efforts in the area. This has included regular foot and vehicle patrols, as well as horse and aerial assisted surveillance. Tracking dogs have also been helping to track and deter suspected poachers. It is clear that without the dedication and hard work of the staff in Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park the numbers of rhinos being poached would be much higher.
The Park also plays an important role in growing South Africa’s black rhino population, with black rhino translocated from the Park to other areas through the Black Rhino Range Expansion Programme.
“Our Field Rangers are tasked with working at night under all conditions and are under immense pressure and stress. Without their efforts, rhino poaching would be far worse. Their dedication and hard work is so important and should never be underestimated — or taken for granted”. Dirk Swart, Section Ranger at Hluhluwe-iMfolozi 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”.
We provide funding for vital equipment needed for the ranger teams on the ground, including foot patrols, vehicle patrols, Anti-poaching Units and the horse establishment in iMfolozi Reserve. Equipment such as camping equipment, monitoring and field equipment, vehicle tyres are under-funded and are vital to carry out anti-poaching and monitoring work effectively. We have also supported aerial surveillance, and improvements to ranger accommodation and facilities.
Dirk Swart, Section Ranger at Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park, highlights: “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. So thank you to all those who contribute and support our staff on the ground”.