The horses had been stabled outside KNP and had to cover quite a distance from the stables to start patrolling the 35-kilometre-long western boundary. When permission was granted for the horses to be stabled inside KNP, predator and snake proof stables were built. When the horses were moved on 23 November 2017, the mounted patrols could be extended into the interior.
The mounted team’s consistent presence has caused poaching incidents to be reduced dramatically in the Phalaborwa section. Rangers patrol with full anti-poaching kit, rifles and .357 revolvers carried in leg holsters for quick response in case of close-up attacks as well as a horse first aid kit in case of an emergency.
The SANParks Honorary Rangers of the Highveld region are the custodians of the project and support has been given by the Bushveld region, whilst the Limpopo region provided for the electric fencing of the stables and paddocks.
If the equine patrols deliver, the honorary rangers will look to expand their support in the hope that “horses could well be a new best friend for both ranger and rhino”.