Watch out! Kruger Park gets new aircraft in fight against poaching

22 October 2018 - 11:10 By Timeslive
The Kruger National Park's anti-poaching unit with the brand new FOXBAT A22LS aircraft - a donation from the MyPlanet Rhino Fund.
The Kruger National Park's anti-poaching unit with the brand new FOXBAT A22LS aircraft - a donation from the MyPlanet Rhino Fund.
Image: SUPPLIED

The Kruger National Park received a new Foxbat A22LS aircraft last week to help fight poaching.

The aircraft‚ a donation from the MyPlanet Rhino Fund‚ will play an essential role in monitoring rhinos‚ identifying and responding to threats‚ and ensuring that the park’s anti-poaching unit is better equipped when it comes to combating increasingly sophisticated gangs of poachers.

“Over the last few years we have had great success due to our deployment of aircraft piloted by rangers over the vastness of Kruger‚” said Marula North regional ranger Steven Whitfield‚ who is responsible for piloting the new aircraft.

“Aircraft have become irreplaceable assets‚ enabling quick response and support to poaching incidents. They are vital for combating poaching on many levels: improving monitoring‚ identifying high-risk areas‚ patrolling remote areas inaccessible by vehicle and foot‚ and enhancing our rapid detection and response capabilities as poaching trends shift.”

Since last year‚ the MyPlanet Rhino Fund‚ which is administered by the Endangered Wildlife Trust‚ has donated more than R3.5-million to nine different non-profit organisations engaged in rhino conservation.

More than R1.4-million was allocated to SANParks and specifically Kruger National Park‚ enabling them to buy the brand-new Foxbat light aircraft.

The aircraft will be based at Satara‚ in a newly built hangar that was jointly funded between MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet and StopRhinoPoaching.com.

“The hangar which will house the new aircraft will greatly enhance the airwing capability in this region of the Kruger National Park. The construction demonstrates what can be achieved with the collaborative effort of organisations working together‚” said Elise Serfontein‚ founding director of StopRhinoPoaching.com.

Conservationist Braam Malherbe‚ an ambassador for the fund‚ said: “It’s incredible for citizen-driven fundraising to result in the much-needed donation of a state-of-the-art aircraft. For me‚ this is the proof that each person’s seemingly small contribution to conservation can result in a big impact.”

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