With the total onslaught on the rhinos in South African nature reserves at such a frenetic pace (559), one starts to wonder what, if anything can be done to stem this frenzy of killing. Conservationist, nature lovers, rhino activists and the man in the street seem to be powerless to do anything to make a difference, or can they turn the tide?
Unite against Poaching is one organisation that believes intensely that they CAN and WILL make a difference against rhino poaching. Established by Unitrans Volkswagen, since September last year, they have pledged over R 5,5 million towards fighting rhino poaching in our National Parks.
Ah, I hear you think, but pledged and spent are not the same thing at all. Well, rest assured, we have managed to spend the majority of that money very effectively to help fight poaching and the balance of the funds has already been earmarked for specific projects. Not one cent has been spent on administration. We have managed to channel the funds resourcefully and to ensure maximum benefit from the application of the capital. Full details on how the funds have been spent are available on our website at http://www.uniteagainstpoaching.co.za/index.php/howfundrused .
The majority of the onslaught against our rhinos is happening in the Kruger National Park, so this is where we have focussed the bulk of the capital. Field rangers have been equipped to operate covertly in the bush and specialised training is being applied to provide the necessary skills to the field rangers to protect our rhinos, but also to be effective when interacting with poachers to facilitate successful convictions. Over R 4 million has been spent or committed to provide the equipment and skills training to the field rangers within Kruger and other rhino hosting National Parks. One shudders to think what the poaching figures would be, had we not invested these funds.
One of the most exciting projects, that is certainly going to have a huge impact in the war on poaching, is the Tracker Hound Unit, which was established in the Kruger National Park this year. These canine warriors are being trained to hone in on human tracking while ignoring any animal scents they encounter. Their superior tracking ability will enable field rangers to follow poachers at a much faster rate than is possible using human tracking and the deployment of these specialists will soon be a reality. We are very proud to be the sponsors of the Unitrans Volkswagen Tracker Hound Project and are looking forward to their first successes in the very near future.
So how can you get involved? The Unite against Poaching project allows members of the public to actively participate in helping stop the onslaught against our rhinos. Each time a vehicle is sold (both new and pre-owned) by a Unitrans Volkswagen dealer, funds are pledged to the Unite against Poaching trust fund. The more vehicles sold the more funds are pledged. So next time you think of purchasing a new vehicle, think Unitrans Volkswagen. This is a double delight, not only will you be getting a fantastic deal and service, but you will directly be helping to save the rhinos in our National Parks.
For other info go to www.uniteagainstpoaching.co.za