Ezemvelo uses grants to equip and train staff

2014-09-12 00:00

EZEMVELO KZN Wildlife staff are receiving training and tactical equipment to aid the fight against rhino poaching after receiving grants worth millions from the Dutch and Swedish postcode lotteries.

Ezemvelo has used R26,8 million of the money, which was given to the Peace Parks Foundation, to equip field rangers with skills, while detectives and prosecutors are undergoing wildlife crime-scene training courses.

Ezemvelo’s Musa Mntambo said rangers are supported with operational and tactical equipment such as night vision goggles, and communication networks across the province’s rhino reserves have also been secured. “Resources have been provided to strengthen the capacity of wildlife veterinary surgeons to treat the rhinos that survive the brutal attacks by poachers and to take rhino orphans into care,” he said.

Earlier this year, Ezemvelo and the Peace Parks Foundation reached an agreement to enhance the existing rhino management and protection activities.

Ezemvelo chief executive Dr Bandile Mkhize said the projects strengthen their common goal to defeat wildlife warfare.

“Ezemvelo is determined to save the rhino for future generations to enjoy. We welcome the support to strengthen our efforts. Working with the local communities and other partners, we are combining efforts to ensure the rhino’s survival,” he said.

Nearly 700 rhinos have been poached this year.

Peace Parks Foundation chief executive officer Werner Myburgh said he is pleased to see the first projects getting off the ground.

“Since the funding was received in May, a number of project implementation agreements have been signed, research and other projects started. These projects are the first of more to come in other areas in our region to secure the rhino population,” Myburgh said.

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