The South African National Parks has used the R250 million donated by American philanthropist and businessman Howard G Buffet to help boost measures to protect the Kruger National Park (KNP) from poachers.
The Kruger National Park has been described as being the same size as Israel. The park has 8000 rhino, 17 000 elephants, 1.7 million visitors per year - and only four helicopters to patrol and protect the entire park.
“The park has upgraded their protection by upgrading ranger points by enabling them to operate helicopters, house the K9 dogs and the training of the rangers and making sure that their equipment is up to scratch,” said Major General Johan Jooste, head of the anti-poaching operations.
Greed and poverty are the main drivers of poaching. A few rangers have also been caught for being involved in poaching activities. Thus, the park has implemented Integrity tests (polygraph testing) as well as lifestyle audits when recruiting staff in order to ensure that they were employing the right people.
“Poaching decreased slightly in 2015 and the organisation hopes that the figures will continue to decrease over time,” Chief Ranger, Nic Funda said.