International cricketers, Kevin Pietersen and Mark Boucher of the Legacy Experience project, recently donated
R3 million to the management of the Kruger National Park (KNP).
The money is meant for the air wing, which is an integral part of anti-poaching operations and based at Skukuza Airport.
“We are happy to hand over this much-needed donation and we are confident it will be used for its purpose,” said Pietersen. “We have met and interacted with the rangers’ corps, including the pilots, and are extremely proud to be able to assist them.”
During the handover ceremony the managing executive of KNP, Glenn Phillips, expressed his gratitude towards the donors. “We are very grateful for the donation, which will go a long way to helping us to protect our natural heritage.”
He repeated that partnerships such as this would help the park to get on top of the poaching challenge. “We appreciate that the Legacy Experience listened and obliged.”
Meanwhile, air support units were operational in further poaching-related successes in the park. On October 23 eight suspected rhino poachers were arrested during counter-poaching operations.
During the operations three heavy-calibre hunting rifles, ammunition as well as various other poaching-related equipment were also recovered.
The arrests took place in three different sections of the KNP and were a joint effort by the SANParks rangers, special rangers, K9 and air support units.
“KNP continues to experience a number of incursions and many other poaching-related activities on daily basis,” commented Phillips. “Our dedicated and committed anti-poaching teams, who are our eyes and ears in the bush, are always out there to respond quickly. We call upon poachers to weigh the risks of getting caught and we assure them that the gap is closing in on them,” he warned.
“Wildlife crime should not be tolerated, and we urge community members to provide any information that may lead to the arrest and conviction of rhino poachers.
“The public can report criminal activities on either the KNP emergency numbers 013-735-0197 or 076-801-9679, the Department of Environmental Affairs’ crime hotline 0800-205-005 or the SAPS number 10111,” concluded Phillips.