Human beings ‘a threat to rangers’

2019-08-06 06:01
Displaying how arrests of abalone poachers are made, from left are Charl Erusmas, Khayalethu Rasi (as a suspect), Nondithini Aloni and Hennie Jaljaard.PHOTO: Nomzamo yuku

Displaying how arrests of abalone poachers are made, from left are Charl Erusmas, Khayalethu Rasi (as a suspect), Nondithini Aloni and Hennie Jaljaard.PHOTO: Nomzamo yuku

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South African National Parks (Sanparks) has begun the process to deploy 120 tourism monitors to various parks after a spate of attacks on rangers and tourists in the Cape region.

The announcement was made during the annual World Rangers Day event held at Mouille Point in Sea Point on Wednesday 31 July.

The day commemorated the rangers who died or were injured in the line of duty and celebrated the role rangers play in the conservation of nature.

The event was held just a few days after the fatal attack on Ukrainian tourist, Ivan Ivanon (43), who was stabbed at East Fort, Chapman’s Peak Drive, in Hout Bay on Saturday 27 July.

Sanparks managing executive of parks Senzeni Mokoena said the incident is one of many alarming attacks that have happened in the parks.

He said it had become evident that human beings were more of a threat to rangers than the animals and that interventions were necessary.

He said that rangers stood up to poachers daily in efforts to stop the illegal poaching of rhino horns, abalone and the removal of indigenous plants.

Mokoena said the training programme was funded by the national departments of tourism.

After completing the training, safety rangers will be stationed in all Cape Region parks. “The programme is a great opportunity, preparing young men and women to grow within the organisation and allowing them to learn new skills for the job market,” said Mokoena.

He said Sanparks would tighten its relations with the City of Cape Town’s law enforcement, neighbourhood watches, police, CapeNature, and other security agencies.

He also said that this measure was important to ensure the safety of the rangers because they played a crucial role in preserving and conserving natural assets that boost the economy.

Mthabatha Matjila, a section ranger at Table Mountain National Park (TMNP), said that working at an open-access national park was challenging as the public did not understand the importance of obeying the rules of the parks.

Matjila said such an event was a reminder that the preservation of biodiversity remained important, and that the work done by rangers should be recognised and appreciated.

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