Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife has given the green light for a R4-million sponsorship of two anti-rhino poaching helicopters as well as securing two fixed-wing aircraft to bolster the fight against the onslaught of rhino poaching in KZN. While the contract is signed for one year, there is every hope that this will continue for the next two years. The funding also includes two full-time pilots.
The money allows for the upgrading of one helicopter, sourced from King Shaka Aviation, to a bigger one that will cover an expanded area around Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park (HiP).
The Robinson R44, a 4-seater, will now patrol a broader area, including the Amakhosini/Opathe reserves outside Ulundi as part of its general surveillance operation.
The previous chopper at HiP was only a 2-seater. As King Shaka Aviation’s operations Manager Justin Louw said, the faster and bigger Robinson R44 can carry three anti-poaching field rangers and in doing so immeasurably improve on reaction times and engagement effectiveness.
The other helicopter (secured from BAC Aviation) will operate in the north-eastern section of the province covering a region covering the iSimangaliso World Heritage Park, Ndumo Game Reserve and Tembe Elephant Park as well as servicing private game farms.
“This is our statement of real intent. We long-since motivated for additional funds to fight this war and great thanks must go to our provincial government that came up with a total of some R48-million earlier this year. We anticipate this R4-million will be extended for two years,” said Musa Mntambo, Ezemvelo’s communications spokesman. More....