Sign up for our Free email Newsletter
and get all the latest wildlife news!
Choose:
Wild Travel Magazine

State of the art military technology and retired Major General deployed to fight rhino poaching in Kruger

17/12/2012 15:34:57

Retired Major General to lead fight against poachers

The South African National Parks (SANParks) has announced that retired decorated army Major General Johan Jooste will oversee the overall anti-poaching operations in the Kruger National Park.

Major General Johan Jooste said "the battle lines have been drawn and it is up to my team and me to forcefully push back the frontiers of poaching. It is a fact that South Africa, a sovereign country, is under attack from armed foreign nationals. This should be seen as a declaration of war against South Africa by armed foreign criminals. We are going to take the war to these armed bandits and we aim to win it."

Military technology introduced to save the African Rhino at Kruger National Park
December 2012: Military technology is being introduced to combat a surge in rhino poaching in the Kruger National Park, South Africa, where the world's largest concentration of rhinos lives. The Ichikowitz Family Foundation, led by South African philanthropist Ivor Ichikowitz, has donated a $2.5 million state-of-the-art aerial surveillance aircraft equipped with infrared detectors, similar to those used in unmanned drones, to help fight the poachers.

More than 50% of Kruger rhinos have been killed since 2010
Since 2010, 760 rhinos out of a total of 1,269 in the Kruger National Park have been killed by illegal poachers selling their tusks to traders in Asian countries such as China and Vietnam, where the horn is prized. The Seeker Seabird aircraft is equipped with advanced thermal imaging technology that means it can identify poachers from the air, and then send in police units to makes arrests on the ground.

Ichikowitz said: "Poaching gangs have become more and more sophisticated and well-resourced. You have to fight fire with fire. This is the first time thermal imaging technology has been used to monitor poaching in Kruger National Park. It will deliver greatly enhanced and powerful observation capability to the park's rangers, making it difficult for poachers to hide.

The Seeker Seabird provides maximum surveillance optimisation and revolutionary reconnaissance capabilities with leading-edge patrol technology that will easily expose illegal poachers that have - to date - been well concealed in their hiding places across the reserve.

The Seeker Seabird provides maximum surveillance optimisation and revolutionary reconnaissance capabilities with leading-edge patrol technology that will easily expose illegal poachers that have - to date - been well concealed in their hiding places across the reserve.

"Our world-class electronic systems technology and advanced visual reconnaissance, including the use of a FLIR Ball infrared detector on the aircraft, will provide game reserve rangers with better than ever intelligence in their tireless mission to confront poachers. Attitudes about the importance of wildlife in South Africa are changing. The grim realities of environmental crimes committed against wildlife and rhino's in particular are being recognised with calls for tougher law enforcement and penalties.

Earlier this month Magistrate Prince Manyathi handed out a stiff 40-year sentence to self-confessed rhino trader and smuggler, Thai national Chumlong Lemtongthai in the Kempton Park Magistrate Court.

Speaking at the unveiling, Dr David Mabunda, CEO of South Africa's National Parks said: "The environment is in the news and does not make for good reading. The mindless slaughter of rhino's in the wild has called for a multi-pronged strategy. We are actively enlisting and broadening our engagement with the private sector to protect and conserve wildlife. The strategy is to reach out to a new set of stakeholders that would complement and fundamentally strengthen existing efforts.

"We believe there is no single strategy to effectively curb the scourge of poaching and engagement with the private sector through the development of partnerships is one of the most important tools. We are very happy to announce that the Ichikowitz Foundation and the Paramount Group are taking a greater role in conservation in the Kruger National Park for the benefit of wildlife.

‘Revolutionary'
The Seeker Seabird provides maximum surveillance optimisation and revolutionary reconnaissance capabilities with leading-edge patrol technology that will easily expose illegal poachers that have - to date - been well concealed in their hiding places across the reserve.

"The days of talking about this problem are over - practical solutions such as the Seeker Seabird and its surveillance capabilities is the only way to make a real difference," Mr Ichikowitz added. "It's time to take dramatic steps to rid this country of poachers and to save our rhinos once and for all."

The South African government is determined to win the war against rhino poaching and calls on all South Africans to do their part to assist. SANParks and the South African conservation fraternity continues to request the support and cooperation of all members of society in identifying and reporting suspicious behaviour that could lead to the apprehension and conviction of these criminals.

Comment on the location and tell us what you saw there

Save Africa's Rhino

Excellent! Thank you Mr Ichikowitz! Thank you Major General Jooste - go get 'em! Let's stop this murder of our rhinos, they are the sacred heritage of our children. Poachers, smugglers, syndicates etc. PASOP!

Posted by: Lindsay Rooken-Smith Jenions | 21 Dec 2012 19:29:26

To post a comment you must be logged in.
CLICK HERE TO LOG IN AND POST A COMMENT

New user? Register here

 

Click join and we will email you with your password. You can then sign on and join the discussions right away.