SANParks has embarked on a campaign to raise funds to fight the scourge of rhino poaching. It’s hosting over 20 CEOs at the Kruger National Park.
The aim is to motivate corporate South Africa to sponsor anti-rhino poaching activities.
SANParks Managing Executive Tourism and Marketing, Hapiloe Sello says: “We have a poaching problem in the Kruger National Park, particularly rhino poaching. And we felt that people may feel that they understand what rhino poaching is about but they actually don’t have an appreciation of what happens behind the scenes, and what it takes to keep the rhinos alive for future generations.
“So what this weekend is really about is to give corporate South Africa a glimpse of what happens behind the scenes of our anti-poaching operations and in so doing we are hoping to get more corporate support,” Sello explained.
Twenty three CEOs representing different companies have been taken on a tour. They got first-hand information about rhino poaching.
The group also witnessed anti-poaching activities such as dehorning and the use of technology to track down poachers.
Kruger National Park Managing Executive, Glen Philips says: “We managed to reduce the number of rhinos poached. So the trend is a downward trend. It’s a very good thing. So, in that respect, our rangers are doing a very incredible job. Without them we wouldn’t achieve what we are achieving. But secondly, the number of incursions into the park is increasing at the same time so that is a big challenge for us; we continue to arrest people on a regular basis in the park.”
Currently there are 700 rangers and four helicopters patrolling the 2 million hectare park.
CEO Peace Parks Foundation, Werner Myburgh says: “What I have learnt from this visit is the importance of the work of the rangers on the ground, and the perils that these rangers face on a daily basis to protect our animals. And I think the most important thing is that significant support is still needed. We can see how expensive this campaign is – a significant financial injection is needed.”
Total South Africa CEO, Pierre-Yves Sachet adds: “We really want to renew and organize this partnership to assist SANParks on the three missions. The one of preservation, conservation but also education and community management because it has got very much to do with the communities near the park.”
Over 500 rhinos had been poached in South Africa last year.