Rangers call for public support in fight against rhino poaching

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Kruger National Park (KNP) Section Rangers at the Crocodile Bridge Neels van Wyk.

THE Kruger National Park (KNP) Section Rangers at the Crocodile Bridge have called on the public to support their projects aimed at fighting rhino poaching.

Speaking at an anti-poaching seminar at the Malelane Golf Club in Malelane last week, the ranger’s Neels van Wyk said people should stop thinking that financial sponsorship was the only means of donating.

“We use aircraft when tracking poachers, which is much easier, but the operation is very expensive. The aircraft use petrol, you can only imagine that cost. Bakkies also make part of our tracking operations and from time-to-time need to be serviced. If anyone can provide that service for free we will appreciate that,” said Van Wyk.

“Most of us here tend to think what R100 is going to do. Never underestimate your contribution. You would be amazed how funds add up, and how relatively low-cost items can make a fundamental difference,” Van Wyk explained.

He continued to share light on some of the other challenges they were facing in their fight against rhino poaching.
Another challenge is when they have to search vehicles of tourists at the gates of the Park, which causes traffic congestion.

“If visitors can be patient with us at the gates, we can ensure that almost all perpetrators are apprehended,” he said.
He added that their successes in a fight against poaching were also attributed to the funding from local and international stakeholders as well as the development and improvement of the KNP K-9 Unit.

Van Wyk concluded by reiterating the value and importance of every contribution made to the anti-poaching mission.
The well-attended event was organised by a non-profit organisation known as the Stop Poaching Endangered African Rhinos (SPEAR).

SPEAR was formed to raise funds in aid of the critical needs of the deployed forces for their anti-poaching operations in the KNP.
In the past, SPEAR has successfully organised a number of environmental orientated events.