In preparation for the high season, South African National Parks (SANParks) is further ramping up its crime prevention and anti-poaching measures in the Kruger National Park (KNP).
The measures will include increased surveillance through vehicle number plate recognition, remote vehicle monitoring, radar surveillance and specialised infrared cameras used by aircraft for night-time surveillance of activities on the ground.
According to KNP Acting Managing Executive, Danny Govender, this is in addition to “the normal ranger and security services patrols as well as the dedicated dog units with tracking hounds being deployed on poacher tracks”.
SANParks has further intensified its efforts to combat the ongoing poaching of rhinos and other animals within the park.
“We have introduced smart camera technology systems at most hotspots, which has helped in the apprehension of suspected poachers and the confiscation of high-calibre hunting rifles and ammunition,” Govender said.
The SANParks Environmental Investigative Unit, which has been successful in operations outside the KNP, will be joining hands with other law enforcement agencies to tackle criminals in adjoining villages.
These operations (assisted by reliable tip-offs from community members) will target suspects supplying rifles and ammunition, and those recruiting poachers to commit crime.
Between July and September this year, a total of 10 suspected poachers were apprehended and six firearms confiscated.
“Our dedicated rangers are motivated and encouraged by the recent successful arrests and convictions of poachers. We will not let our guard down as the battle to safeguard our natural heritage is far from over,” said Govender.
Law enforcement and anti-poaching officials are also working closely on cross-border operations with Mozambican authorities, to target poaching kingpins.
“There are regular meetings at the boundary to assess the threat from that country and to implement plans to mitigate against the threat. The sharing of intelligence has resulted in successful arrests of poachers before they kill an animal,” a government statement highlighted.
To stop the indiscriminate killing of other animals, volunteer organisation, the SANParks Honorary Rangers, has upped its efforts to assist with eradicating snares, working over the weekends to remove around 1 000 of the deadly contraptions from the KNP boundaries.