By Edgar Brandt
ERINDI – Due to an increase in poaching in southern Africa, the 70 000-hectare Erindi Private Game Reserve, which is home to about 20 000 wild animals, has de-horned all its rhinos to discourage rhino poachers.
Erindi is also totally enclosed by a 200km electric fence and has 35 staff member anti-poaching units specifically dedicated to protecting the wildlife.
The anti-poaching unit, which is extremely well-equipped and which makes use of state-of-the-art technology, includes a fast response unit and a tracking team consisting of four experienced San men.
However, Erindi’s game manager, Ruan Cloete, said all of the 230 staff on the private game reserve are involved in anti-poaching activities.
“We have a very good communication system that can cover a 100km radius around Erindi and we also make use of a microlight and helicopter for aerial surveying,” further explained Cloete.
The man in charge of the safety of Erindi’s animals added that the anti-poaching unit has vehicles on the ground everyday going in every direction to patrol the entire 70 000 hectares.
“We have had some poaching threats. Just the other night we heard numerous shots within a five minute period but upon investigation we didn’t find any evidence of poaching,” noted Cloete.
He also narrated how recently the anti-poaching unit spotted a vehicle traveling at night with huge spotlights. The person seemingly avoided any of the guards approaching him by switching off his lights.
“We eventually rammed him off the road and he was arrested with three high powered rifles in his possession,” remarked Cloete.
Another incident involved a group of Chinese men, claiming to be mining prospectors, who were wandering around on the game reserve.
“These guys drove off the marked road and then walked four kilometres into the bush before we caught up with them. They were quite shocked to learn that lions and other dangerous animals roam freely on Erindi,” added Cloete.
In addition to being armed and making use of the latest available technology to monitor the well-being of the animals, Erindi’s owners also decided to remove all the horns from the rhino on the farm, to make the animals less attractive to poaching.
“All the horns of our rhino have been removed,” confirmed Erindi’s co-owner, Gert Joubert.