- Published Date
KWAZULU NATAL PROJECTS FUNDED FROM THE €15.4 MILLION DUTCH AND SWEDISH POSTCODE LOTTERIES GRANT
Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife (Ezemvelo) has started implementing a suite of projects to the value of R26.8 million as part of the Rhino Protection Programme, funded by the Dutch and Swedish postcode lotteries grant to Peace Parks Foundation.
The following projects are now under way:
• Field rangers are being trained and the skills of existing staff have been enhanced;
• Detectives and prosecutors are undergoing wildlife crime scene training courses;
• Rangers are being supported with operational and tactical equipment such as night vision goggles;
• Secure communication networks are being established across the province’s rhino reserves;
• The use of technology in the form of surveillance cameras at strategic locations and the testing of unmanned aerial vehicles (drones); and
• Resources have been provided to strengthen the capacity of wildlife veterinary surgeons to treat the rhino that survive the brutal attacks by poachers and to take rhino orphans into care.
These projects are being implemented as part of an agreement signed between Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife and Peace Parks Foundation on 9 April 2014. The projects are enhancing the existing rhino management and protection activities by Ezemvelo.
Dr Bandile Mkhize, CEO of Ezemvelo, welcomed the rollout of the projects, saying: “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.”
Werner Myburgh, CEO of Peace Parks Foundation said: “We are very pleased to see the first projects from lotteries’ grant get 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 rhino populations”
On 5 February 2014 the Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs, Minister Edna Molewa lauded the €15.4 million grant to combat wildlife crime by the Dutch and Swedish postcode lotteries to Peace Parks Foundation.
Since this announcement, the South African government and its public entities, South African National Parks and Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, have been working closely with Peace Parks Foundation to plan detailed projects. The partners have also established the necessary governance structures under the auspices of the Department of Environmental Affairs that is overseeing the implementation of the multi-pronged Rhino Protection Programme to combat rhino poaching in South Africa, home to 83% of Africa’s wild rhino.
The programme includes the following measures to augment the protection of rhino populations:
• as part of managing the asset, implementing techniques to reduce the value of the horn of live rhino, upon conclusion of scientific research and trial projects;
• increasing the protection and security of rhino populations;
• supporting wildlife veterinary surgeons with the necessary resources to enable them to treat the rhino that survive the brutal attacks by poachers and to take rhino orphans into care;
• using technology such as night vision equipment, unmanned aerial vehicles and improved field communications to augment existing anti-poaching activities;
• implementing counter-trafficking actions;
• launching an extensive international communications campaign to address and stimulate the reduction in consumer demand; and
• Implementing community awareness projects.
For media inquiries contact:
Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife
Tel: +27 (0)33 845 1743
Cell: +27 (0)83 284 9586
Peace Parks Foundation
Tel: +27 (0)21 880 5116