Together with Wildlands Conservation Trust, the activities of Project Rhino KZN will be supported in order to reduce the risk of poaching incidences in the region. This will be done by improving the network among the reserves, coordinating actions and effectively monitoring the rhino populations.
For an overall coordination of anti-poaching activities across the reserves, a dedicated Rhino Intervention Unit will be established. This unit organizes and monitors activities in the region and coordinates monthly control flights over the participating reserves. Furthermore, the mobile aerial unit – the Zululand Antipoaching Wing – is also available for rapid response flights, in order to react on incidences quickly. Having an oversight from the helicopter, the pilots can localize poachers and killed animals more easily and guide rangers on the ground efficiently. The Rhino Intervention Unit also supports the investigation of poaching incidences, collects important evidences and liaises with private and public authorities and initiatives in the region. Through the professional handling and following up of cases including the coordinated collection of consistent evidences, incidences can be better documented and analyzed, which shall increase the success rate of capturing poachers and during the trials.
The Somkhanda reserve – where GNF supports rhino protection and rural development since several years now – is also part of the project area. In the framework of this project, the reserve rangers will receive further training on prevention of poaching. Experiences and lessons learned will be brought in from other reserves for increasing professionalism and effectiveness. Furthermore, selected rhinos will be equipped with GPS units in order to allow for an easier monitoring of the animals through the rangers.
The important, transboundary coordination and cooperation will be supported by two exchange meetings of park managers and rangers from South Africa and Mozambique. Goal is, to identify existing gaps in the current cooperation on prevention of poaching between the two countries and to develop recommendation for improving this situation. Mozambique is one of the central gateways for contrabandism of illegal rhino horn from South Africa. An effective cooperation between the two countries is thus essential for ensuring concerted activities as well as an improved prosecution on both sides of the borders.