Our National Initiatives
While all the regions engage in their own projects and initiatives, there are several national projects that transcend regional boundaries. These are:
Destruction of natural habitat through the invasion of alien species is regarded as the single biggest threat to the endemic biological integrity of National Parks and all natural areas. The South African landscape is rife with various alien species introduced by humans which are threatening our native species.
(Counter Poaching, Ranger Support, Wildlife Services)
A ranger's job is never easy.
Limited budgets, long hours, extreme environmental conditions, unpredictable animals, dangerous poachers! Sourcing valuable equipment, resources and funds for the SANParks rangers is one of the most valuable contributions made by Honorary Rangers. Another crucial area of Honorary Ranger support is in the supply of equipment and helping hands for the veterinary staff of SANParks, typified by game capture and transfer.
The courses are a pivotal part of being an Honorary Ranger and allow one to expand one's active knowledge of SANParks and the natural environment. While certain courses are compulsory for Honorary Rangers, they are also open to the general public.
The Junior Rangers group is now in excess of 1 800 Junior Rangers and applicants. This builds their environmental knowledge and park exposure and hopefully paves the way for their involvement with the SANParks Honorary Rangers corps when they come of age.
Bush Camps are one of the major fundraisers in SANParks. Currently, the only regular bush camp being used as a fundraising event is the Sand River Bush Camp terrain close to Skukuza in Kruger National Park, but plans are afoot to establish more camps.
Though not an official national project this is an outreach effort run by many of our regions to educate and make the general public aware of our environment and the role we play in it. We organise displays in malls, shopping centres, schools, shows and big public gatherings. Here various items such as skulls, tusks, skins and posters are displayed. These are all aimed at arousing interest in those people who may not have given the environment any thought and interest is also heightened in those members of the public who are environmentally aware. Children also enjoy the shows which are held at schools and are keen to participate in the displays.
This is another HR initiative that helps in raising funds, as well as making the birders more aware of the Honorary Rangers. We also convert non-birders to supporters of Avi-tourism! Many Birding Days have been held in almost all of our National Parks. Sasol is a keen sponsor of these events.