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heli transfrontier ranger air support

Working on the front lines in some of the world’s most dangerous environments, field rangers have an immensely challenging role to undertake. Without these dedicated individuals, there would be no hope for the continent’s extraordinary wild species to survive in their natural habitats.

The global crisis in combination with a severe lack of tourism funds has stimulated illegal wildlife crime to increase exponentially across the continent. We are calling for urgent support to protect Africa’s vulnerable countries from a disastrous poaching epidemic.

The Project

The Greater Kruger Environmental Protection Foundation (GKEPF) was established in 2016 to assist in combatting wildlife crime within Africa’s Central Lowveld. Within GKEPF’s area of influence, the transfrontier zone describes a vast area of land extending across South Africa, Zimbabwe and Mozambique. Home to the continent’s largest and most important population of rhino, enhanced support in the area is critical. The intention is to establish a safe and conservation friendly refuge for rhinos, wildlife and all other inhabitants in the zone.

Working alongside high impact operators, Pelorus Foundation and Frontier have partnered with GKEPF to share resources and increase the level of support and tactical training across the transfrontier zone. Through adopting a force multiplier approach, we strengthened the skillsets of field rangers, and provided them with vital air support to achieve deter, detect and disrupt effects throughout this vast area. Strategically, air support is a highly effective tool when working in such an expansive landscape.

Through developing the essential components of an efficient counter poaching system, our objective is to turn the tide of wildlife crime and mitigate the alarming threats inflicted upon field rangers. Through this integrated effort, we intend to achieve synergies and a proactive stance on a sustainable basis.

Field Rangers

Suitable, qualified and motivated field rangers are one of our greatest assets in securing the transfrontier area. It has become critical for field rangers to play an imperative role in the fight against poaching-related crimes in the conservation field. Through existing service providers who are operational in the location, we can secure valuable training for rangers which will benefit the protected area directly, and add long-lasting value to the lives of these individuals.

Based on-site, this thorough training course is designed to equip rangers with the knowledge and skills to fulfil their role effectively. Divided into three divisions, each element of the course can either be conducted separately, or staggered over an extended time frame.

During the course, the individuals worked closely with the inspirational K9 Unit, the canines of which provide an indispensable service in counter-poaching activities through patrolling, tracking and detection techniques. Acting as the ‘eyes and ears’ on the ground, field rangers learned standard operating procedures (SOP’s) in the case of spoor detected, shots heard, poachers observed and carcass located. As well as fundamental, in-depth medical training, team members were trained in air support deployment and integration, an aspect of which is critical to GKEPF’s operations. 

Through this partnership, we strive to enhance GKEPF’s command and communications centre, and develop successful ground-to-air training for field rangers. Ultimately, by reinforcing this joint capability, we will continue to develop relationships and trust between the various reserves of the transfrontier area, setting conditions for progressive improvements in the years ahead.

For as long as criminals over-exploit nature’s rare and endangered species, not only Africa’s rhino population, but our entire planet’s wildlife will remain threatened. The world’s flora and fauna will continue on an alarming route to extinction, unless we address this urgent issue and take action now.