A new integrated anti-poaching approach for Ezemvelo rhino reserves
On 24 January 2018, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife officially opened a new central anti-poaching command and control, or so-called ‘nerve centre’, in Hluhluwe-iMfolozi (HiP) Park. The nerve centre forms the heart of an integrated smart park technology strategy being developed in HiP in partnership with Peace Parks Foundation through the Rhino Protection Programme, with significant support from the Dutch Postcode Lottery and the United States State Department’s Bureau for International Narcotic and Law Enforcement Affairs. read more
Environmental crime is vastly expanding and increasingly endangering not only wildlife populations but entire ecosystems, sustainable livelihoods and revenue streams to governments. This new area of criminality has diversified and skyrocketed to become the world’s fourth largest crime sector in a few decades, after drug trafficking, counterfeit crimes and human trafficking, growing at 2-3 times the pace of the global economy. The Rise of Environmental Crime finds that weak laws and poorly funded security forces are enabling international criminal networks and armed rebels to profit from a trade that fuels conflicts, devastates ecosystems, is threatening species with extinction and has far-reaching impacts and threats to human security and sustainable development.
Africa is now losing 4 elephant per hour and 3 rhino per day.
The Javan, Sumatran and black rhino are considered critically endangered and the Indian rhino vulnerable by the IUCN's Red List of Threatened Species. The Javan rhino was declared extinct in Vietnam in 2011 and only an estimated 60 are left in the wild, in Indonesia, and none in captivity, while the Sumatran rhino was declared extinct in Malaysia and fewer than 100 of the animals remain on the island of Sumatra in Indonesia. In Africa the number of black rhino in the wild is estimated at 5 000 individuals and that of white rhino at 20 000. The western black rhino was declared extinct in 2011 and only three northern white rhino remain.
South Africa currently conserves 79% of Africa’s rhino and has suffered the bulk (85%) of the crime. For the first time in a decade, thanks to the concerted efforts by all involved in countering the onslaught, poaching in South Africa decreased in 2015.
HOW PEACE PARKS IS HELPING
Wildlife crime cannot be fought on one front only. While the region’s governments are endeavouring to address the demand side, using diplomatic channels, those same governments and other stakeholders are working to stem the tide at ground level. Peace Parks Foundation is assisting the region’s governments in their endeavours to combat wildlife crime. As with all TFCA work, donors play a vital role. Please assist us with this crucial undertaking.
Thanks to the support of the Dutch and Swedish postcode lotteries and other donors, Peace Parks Foundation has been working closely with the South African government and its conservation management authorities, South African National Parks and Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife in implementing the multifaceted Rhino Protection Programme.
Supported by Cartier, Peace Parks Foundation and Panthera are working through Panthera’s Furs for Life Project to conserve the world’s most persecuted big cat – the leopard.
Peace Parks Foundation focusses on providing support in the following ways:
1. Supporting rangers with the following:
Information gleaned from conservation unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) and informants;
3. Facilitating cooperation between TFCA partners:
Harmonisation of policies and legislation; and
Joint training for joint operations.
4. Understanding the supply and demand of wildlife products:
Facilitating the devaluation of rhino horn, thereby rendering it worthless and of no value for purported medicinal or ornamental purposes, or as a status symbol; and
Encouraging research in order to better understand the supply and demand dynamics;
5. Establishing partnerships:
Forming partnerships to provide assistance and support to the SADC ministries for the environment and their conservation agencies in order to combat poaching;
Partnering with the South African Department of Environmental Affairs and its two conservation agencies, South African National Parks and Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, the joint custodians of the world's largest wild rhino population. Also partnering with Panthera, a global wild cat conservation organisation, to protect and revive southern Africa’s leopard populations; and
Collaborating with various international conservation agencies and research entities that could make a meaningful contribution to countering wildlife crime.