Contribution to Counter Poaching Efforts

R70 000 contributed to SANParks Counter Poaching Efforts

SANParks Honorary Ranger Wayne Bolton cycled 6000km throughout South Africa, connecting 19 South African national parks, and in the process raised R150 000 which is being used to fight rhino poaching.

Today (Monday October 31) Wayne handed over equipment valued at R70 000 to the Rangers of the Mokala National Park near Kimberley, facilitated by the Diamantveld region of SANParks Honorary Rangers. It formed part of the proceeds from his epic journey and the equipment is to be used in the war against rhino poaching.

Wayne’s journey on a mountain bike, supported by his family, was specifically aimed at supporting counter poaching initiatives through support for SANParks, SANParks Honorary Rangers, and Care for Wild Africa, a rhino orphanage.

SANParks Honorary Rangers Chairperson Louis Lemmer lauded Wayne’s efforts, saying Wayne showed the true spirit of voluntarism, so central to the success of the SHR movement, the preferred channel of funding of SANParks in the war against rhino poaching.

Wayne’s motivation for his journey followed a question to himself: “Have I done enough to contribute to the sustainability of my environment” and in the Bolton Family’s case, with their involvement with SANParks and love for the bush “we are very aware of the sobering reality that we could see the extinction of the rhino and the elephant in our lifetime.

“We don’t want to stand by and say we did nothing!”

So, through “One Land Love It” Wayne, an ordinary 50-year-old family man and businessman from Port Elizabeth, South Africa, involved his family.

Wayne cycled 6000kms by mountain bike, averaging 100km a day over 2 ½ months around South Africa connecting all 19 SANParks.  This was done in support of counter poaching initiatives – specifically SANParks through the SHR and Care for Wild Africa, a rhino orphanage.

The Bolton family was involved in different ways in a journey that spanned the heat of summer. From Wayne starting out sick, to temperature peaks of nearly 60ºC resulting in sunstroke and dehydration, to long, silent stretches of road, to being chased by warthogs and close run ins with trucks and traffic officials, Wayne showed the resolve to his commitment.

As Wayne arrived at each park, the Scroll of Unity in Conservation was signed by SANParks Rangers who, like many South Africans, have committed themselves to doing their part to conserve South Africa’s natural heritage - together.  In August the Bolton Family joined their sponsors and supporters to han over the Scroll to John Adendorff , SANParks Eastern Cape Regional Conservation Manager,  at a function sponsored by Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism.  Mr Adendorff reiterated the gratitude of SANParks management and staff for Wayne’s efforts in improving the morale of rangers, as well as providing funds for counter poaching equipment. The Scroll can be seen in the Ranger display at the Addo Elephant National Park Interpretive Centre.

Today (31 October 2016) Wayne and Nikki Bolton handed over the anti-poaching equipment purchased by SANParks Honorary Rangers, represented by Mathilda Swanepoel, SHR Chairperson of the Diamantveld region, to Deon Joubert, Park Manager of the Mokala National Park, Koketso Kotsoe, Section Ranger, and the Rangers of Mokala National Park. Mokala is one of the newest SANParks and plays a significant role in regenerating important and protected species. SANParks plays a critical role in protecting South Africa’s natural heritage and Wayne’s message is: “If we can’t stop the poaching and imminent extinction of the rhino what hope do we have of conserving other endangered species for future generations?  I believe that there is an activist in each of us and by example One Life hopes to challenge people to consider what they can do… just don’t do nothing… anyone can do that!”

Some images of Wayne’s epic 6000km journey connecting 19 national parks

The One Land Love It logo


Wayne’s route connecting all 19 SANParks which bears the outline of a rhino

Koketso Kotsoe (Mokala Section Ranger) and Mokala Rangers along with Wayne Bolton and the OLLI Team signing the Scroll of Unity in Conservation in December 2015

On the road to Mokala National Park - Wayne Bolton with his childen Laura (Front/19 years old at the time/an Addo SANParks Honorary Ranger) and Daniel (Back/22 years old) who are students at NMMU

On the road to Mokala National Park - Wayne Bolton (Middle) with his daughter (Left/Laura/19 years old) and Daniel (Right/22 years old) who cycled stretches of the route with him in the spirit of #JointCustody making the OLLI sign which spells Olli and is affirmation that we have One Land (and) Love It!

Wayne Bolton along with the OLLI Team, John Adendorff (Addo Conservation Manager) and Dries Engelbrecht (SANParks Regional General Manager) with Addo Elephant National Park Rangers

Wayne Bolton (Middle) with the Mandlekazi Skefile, CEO of Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism (Left) who handed Wayne a Certificate of Recognition as an Ambassador of Nelson Mandela Bay, along with John Adendorff (Right/Regional Conservation Manager/EC) who is holding the Scroll of Unity in Conservation

PENGUIN FESTIVAL

Splashing success for SANParks Honorary Rangers at Penguin Festival

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A record 450 boerewors rolls were sold at this year's Penguin Festival, held on African Penguin Day on October 8, and the efforts by SANParks Honorary Rangers of the Table Mountain Region resulted in a R10 462 cash donation to SANCCOB

The day is organised primarily to raise funds for SANCCOB for the rehabilitation of penguins and other sea birds that have either been affected by oil spills or where chicks or eggs have been abandoned by the parents, said Michael McSweeney, a member of the regional management committee of Table Mountain Region.

All the penguins within the TMNP region are located and breed on SANParks land, either at Boulders or Seaforth beaches. At each penguin festival rehabilitated penguins and chicks are released into the sea to much fanfare from members of the public.This release signals the beginning of the festival,

The SHR received sponsorships for the entire amount of boerewors (75Kg) , rolls (550), sauces (40 litres), onions (6 pockets), serviettes and containers from members, Checkers and Pick 'n Pay, which meant the entire amount made was handed to SANCCOB.

Martine Viljoen, SHR organiser of the event, thanked the Honorary Rangers for attending and enabling the SHR Boerewors Stand to set new records – both in money raised and attendance and duty by SHR members.

 

"It is something we can be proud of and I look forward to planning the 2017 event," said Viljoen.

 

 


Kruger National Park K9 Canine Centre

Kruger National Park’s K9 Canine Centre received international support

New canines deployed in Kruger National Park with international assistance

The K9 Canine Centre in Kruger National Park (KNP) has received international support with the donation to the unit by institutions in the United States and Germany of two sniffer dogs to be used in counter poaching operations.

The dogs, donated by the Star Project in San Francisco and the Wuppertal Zoo in Germany, were introduced in August 2016 when SANParks Honorary Rangers from various regions, gathered to celebrate the upgrading of the KNP’s K9 Centre, specifically to house dogs that are used in the fight against anti-rhino poaching.

SHR’s of the Lowveld region under the leadership of Grant Coleman, adopted the K9 unit and Project Watchdog is currently also supported by the SHR’s Virtual region, East Rand region, Highveld region as well as KwaZulu Natal region with more SHR regions to join.

There was a buzz of excitement at the handing over proceedings while Johan de Beer, KNP’s Dog Master, gave the last instructions to the dog handlers before the event kicked off with a live demonstration in the bush.

Several detection dogs, specifically trained for the contraband trade, are being deployed at KNP’s entrance and exit gates and showed off their skills by sniffing out ammunition, weapons, explosives and rhino horn in vehicles.  The handlers managed their dogs with excellent skills, discipline and great success, whilst Delta, a very promising attack dog, panted eagerly for his chance to show off.

Delta, a Belgian Malinois, with Johan de Beer as his instructor, as well as several armed rangers, gave a dramatic demonstration when Delta apprehended a pretend poacher hiding in the bush and even plunged through a moving vehicle’s open window to attack a suspect in the driver seat.  The dog’s ability to follow instructions in life-threatening situations was impressive.

SHR regions and private institutions donated R 640 000 in cash, kind and equipment to enhance the training and capability of these highly-trained dogs and their handlers on 7 August 2016.

Much-needed equipment like a power washer to clean kennels (SHR East Rand Region), trauma kits for injured dogs (initiated by 3M Healthcare in collaboration with Casterbridge Animal Hospital in White River), leashes, chains and protective clothing to train dogs in simulating attack situations (SHR KwaZulu Natal Region), 756 kg of Hill’s dog food (SHR Highveld Region), various other K9 equipment (SHR Lowveld Region) and LED spotlights (MSC LED Lightning Solutions), mostly for use by the Intensive Protection Zone (IPZ) rangers, were unveiled during the ceremony.

Well-known marathon legend Bruce Fordyce donated a part of the income of the recent Park Run event to Project Watchdog, and a Facebook group’s donation, initiated by Jaco Buys (2016’s Safari Guide of the Year) in cooperation with the SHR Virtual region, donated a significant amount of money to be used to procure more specialised equipment.  The SHR Highveld region made a commitment to supply the necessary building material to build a brand new kennel at Satara Rest Camp.

Gaven Holden-Smith of Holden-Smith Tracking and Conservation, who have a sterling record in tracking, breading and training of canines, delivered new trained Bloodhound / Doberman crosses to several section rangers with their respective travel boxes equipped built-in fans to secure safe and comfortable journeys to crime scenes.

But it is not all about operational war and no play. High tech grooming equipment and comfortable mattresses were donated for use in their overnight predator-proof kennels while in the K9 centre during periods of rest or recovery, when their handlers are on leave or for follow-up training purposes.

Each dog has its own day pen, known as a run, where they are kept during the day to enjoy ample space to discharge their high energy levels, with toys to stimulate them, as well as individual water tubs to cool them down during the hot summer months.

When the SANParks Honorary Rangers are on duty at K9, they treat the four-legged task force team with tons of love, grooming and stimulation while the dogs are resident in the centre.

General Johan Jooste, Head of Special Projects of SANParks, proudly refers to KNP’s canine force as “game changers”, which is a clear indication of the success rate these dogs have in the war against rhino poaching.  Their special abilities to sniff, track and attack in life-threatening situations make them perfect allies on the frontline.

Delta in action with instructor Johan de Beer

SHR’s Mandi Malan, Gerhard & GD Kotze with Delta

 

New tracker dogs deployed in KNP; Ben to Lower Sabie, Wupper to Tshokwane region, Gaven Holden-Smith (Holden-Smith Tracking & Conservation), Kilalo to the Stolsnek area, Johan de Beer (KNP’s Dog Master)  and Betty to Pretoriuskop with their respective travel boxes.  Rangers faces are being blurred to protect their identity.

 

 

 


From Bush to Berlyn :World Rhino Day

From the Bush to Berlin…

A group of five SANParks Rangers, accustomed to the tough routine in the bush fighting rhino poachers, are to fly the flag for anti-rhino poaching when they run the acclaimed Berlin Marathon on September 26.


Wildlife in the Kruger National Park is protected by a ranger corps moulded by the realities of the rhino poaching crisis. Where they once patrolled to deter the odd meat poacher, helped with veld management and performed routine conservation duties, these brave men and women have had to mobilize to form the first line of defence against what has become a multi-billion dollar industry – the illicit trafficking of rhino horn by multi-national organised crime syndicates

Despite admirable efforts, an increased technology focus and the implementation of proactive strategies, the poacher infiltration into the Kruger remains relentless.  These combined protection efforts are paying off though, and while the number of rhino fatalities remains high these figures are stabilizing at lower numbers than in previous years.  For the teams on the frontlines for the last 9 years, a drop in the numbers (even if slight) shows progress in the right direction. In rhino terms, every life saved is a victory. This success has been hard won but proves that perseverance and dedication pay off and serves as motivation to face the daily challenges. If not for the men and women on the frontlines South Africa would have lost hundreds more rhino.

So how does one say thank you for their many sacrifices, time away from home, the discomfort of spending days on end in the bush, enduring extreme weather conditions, protecting, patrolling and facing aggressive armed criminals? How do we keep them motivated to keep on trying their best, while at the same time incentivize them to go that extra mile? How does one counter the mental and physical fatigue in a crisis that can be classified as a war of attrition, where the poaching groups’ relentless persistence and cruelty has the potential to weaken even the most steadfast resolve?

Rangers Running for Rhino is an initiative founded by Bruce Leslie, Regional Ranger for the Special Rangers in the Kruger National Park that aims to do just that. “By giving them the opportunity to participate in this prestigious event overseas – an experience probably unobtainable to most rangers – we encourage personal wellbeing and good mental health while ensuring men and women stay active and fit. This in turn generates a positive response and encourages other rangers to run for the rhino and a healthier life,” says Bruce.

In a unique collaborative effort between the SANParks Honorary Rangers, StopRhinoPoaching.com and the Frankfurt-based KfW Development Bank, funds have been made available to sponsor the costs of the rangers to travel and participate in the Berlin Marathon. The rangers, all members of the Skukuza Marathon Club, are overjoyed at the prospect of travelling overseas. For all but Bruce, who will be running as well as acting as team chaperone, this will be their first time on an aeroplane.

Other sponsors have generously come forward offering equipment support, including well-known brands Craghoppers and Asics, while Paul Selby, an Honorary Ranger with the Lowveld Region and member of the Berlin Marathon Committee has played an indispensable role in logistics and ensuring the rangers’ participation. SA Airlink has sponsored the team’s flights from Skukuza to Johannesburg, return.

Louis Lemmer, national chairperson of SANParks Honorary Rangers, says the motivation for supporting the initiative is embedded in the realisation that it is people who will overcome the poaching challenge and not only equipment.  “These are brothers, husbands and fathers who find themselves in a war zone combating gangs of armed poachers almost on a daily basis. It changes your perception when you visit these brave men and women at their homes, when you meet their children and spouses and experience the effect of this battle on their family lives. We need to look after these dedicated people as our most precious resource!”

"It takes courage to work as a ranger. The fight against poachers places both rangers and their families in danger,” says Nils Meyer, Senior Project Manager for Nature Conservation in South Africa at the KfW Development Bank. “They are helping to conserve nature and the environment, a valuable goal that the KfW, in the name of the German government, has been championing for decades. I want the rangers to know that Germany really appreciates the work they are doing. We are very pleased to be able to support their participation in the Berlin marathon and wish the whole team all the best!"

Nicholus Funda, Chief Ranger in the Kruger National Park, echo’s these sentiments. “In this rhino campaign, the stakes are high and the pressure on rangers is huge. The future of rhinos in South Africa is in their hands.”

Elise Daffue, Founder of StopRhinoPoaching.com, spent a day with the ranger team while applying for their travel visas and fitting their new running gear. “All too often the focus has been on more kit, more equipment, more training. These components are vital, but at the same time we need to focus just as intently – if not more so – on the human factor. The sponsors and organisers’ collaborative effort has made an unattainable dream become a reality - it truly is humbling to see the rangers’ appreciation and excitement at this opportunity. Ranger experiences such as this are a long term investment into our most important asset to save the rhino – our rangers, our people.”

R48 Million Contribution Celebrated

27 May 2016


SANParks has welcomed a record R48m contribution by the SANParks Honorary Rangers volunteer organisation last year in cash, kind and word done in its 21 national parks.

 

Lize McCourt, SANParks Chief Operating Officer, thanked the SANParks Honorary Rangers(SHR) at their annual Indaba held at the West Coast National Park at the weekend: " Thank you, thank you, thank you," McCourt told the gathering. "Without you we will not be able to do what we do," said McCourt describing the SHR movement as major "partner" of SANPakrs. The SANParks Honorary Rangers are the official volunteer organisation of SANParks.The members, who come from all walks of life and all parts of the country, are often affectionately described as the "unpaid" staff of SANParks. McCourts' statement is well founded as the SHR delivered a new record contribution in cash, kind and word done during 2015, valued at R48,2 million and up by 10% on previous year.

 

Only six national parks - including Kruger, Addo and Tsitsikamma - operate at a profit, while government's contribution to SANParks only meet 20% of its operational costs.This has placed SANParks under pressure to maintain an internationally-renowned tourism and wildlife service in al its parks, with only limited resources available.

The SHR contribution included 200,000 hours of work done by its 1,500 members. Notable achievements in the past year were that duties related to environmental education has risen to over 20,600 hours. Programs run by the SHR supported rangers fighting the war on poaching and training tourist guides. A direct financial contribution of R5,6m was made to SANParks in terms of its "wish list" system to provide items such as night vision equipment camera traps, fire-fighting equipment and lion collars. Even the now famous Karoo lion "Sylvester" met his match due to a SHR donated tracking collar which was fitted after his first escape.

Louis Lemmer, national chairperson of the SHRs, thanked members and said the organisation "must and will always be an organisation driven by dedicated volunteers giving their time and skills for the conservation cause". "The relationship with SANParks on all levels remains positive and is one of the our most important resources. I is the shared vision and relationship of truts which enables us to work hand-in-hand to achieve our common gaols. We must grow this relationship and strengthen oir cooperation even further," said Lemmer. "Without the public, business community, sponsors and donorsit would have been difficult to deliver the support needed by SANParks.We acknowledge you as our oartners in support of our national parks," he concluded.

The Honorary Rangers are involved in supporting all 21 of the South African national parks. Members of the public are welcome to join the organisation or to participate in the activities such as birding events and bush camps which the organise. For more information visit www.sanparksvolunteer.org.

 

 

SANParks Honorary Rangers “Project of The Year” was awarded to Erika Lemmer (centre) for the Kruger Rustic Bush Camps by Lize McCourt, SANParks Chief Operating Officer (left) and Louis Lemmer, Chairperson of SHR. The project raised R300 000 in funds for SANParks.


 

The East Rand Region of SANParks Honorary Rangers was named “Region of the Year”. Andre Pezzutto , Chairman of the region (centre), accepted the award from Lize McCourt, SANParks Chief Operating Officer (left), and Louis Lemmer, Chairperson of the SHRs. The award was made for outstanding achievements by the region