By Rhino Girl
Kruger National Park: Ground Zero
Out of the rhino poached this year, 550 of them have been killed in Kruger National Park.
In the last five years, a total of 1457 were reported killed in KNP.
83% of the worlds remaining rhinos exist in South Africa, making Kruger the epicenter for illegal poaching.
“The game is different here at Kruger National Park because the poachers that come from other countries, particularly Mozambique, are armed with AK47s, grenades and axes. They don’t play, these poachers mean business” says Colonel Bolelo, ,who is heading anti-poaching operations at SansPark (who operates Kruger National Park).
What’s Being Done
In March of 2013, South African National Defence Force (SANDF) deployed 265 soldiers into the Park and around the borders after a plea for help from the South African National Parks (SanParks). The soldiers are there to train, support and backup the rangers.
A new high-tech Gazelle helicopter has been donated to the fight. With high-speed, night vision capabilities, it should make pursuit of poachers easier and quicker.
Previously high-tech, low-speed recon planes were deployed to help track poachers in the region. The Seeker, as it was called, was donated by Paramount, the same group who donated as the Gazelle.
So with the manpower combined with technology, why is poaching still so prevalent?
The Crux of the Problem
Size: at 7580 sq mi, there is hardly enough manpower to monitor the vastness of the Park.
Location: Being bordered by areas of high unemployment and poverty (Zimbabwe, Limpopo and Mozambique), the rhino in the Park are like diamonds in a mine waiting to be taken. More....