Family foundation supports fight against poaching

Family foundation supports fight against poaching

21 February 2014

Astatistical report, published by the Department of Environmental Affairs on January 30, states that 86 rhino have been killed by poachers in South Africa to date this year, bringing the total number of rhino killed since 2008, to 2 827.

Last year, 1 004 rhino were killed, a 150% increase on the 668 killed in 2012.

The number of arrests related to rhino poaching also increased, from 267 in 2012 to 343 in 2013. This is as a result of South African National Parks’ (SANParks’) efforts and the increase in military solutions donated by the Ichikowitz Family Foundation.

The military solutions involve counter-poaching training for game rangers, sniffer- and tracker-trained dogs, as well as aerial surveillance.

Further, chairperson and founder of the Ichikowitz Family Foundation, as well as Paramount Group executive chairperson Ivor Ichikowitz explains that the foundation has drawn from the military and tactical experience of South Africa-based private defence business Paramount Group, which has resulted in the donation of equipment, such as night vision and communications equipment, camouflaged combat uniforms, weapons and binoculars, as well as military aircraft, to SANParks.

Counterpoaching Units

Ichikowitz says game rangers at several of the parks in South Africa are receiving specialised training from retired military experts, such as generals and special forces officers, to form counterpoaching units (CPUs).

The training course can take up to six weeks and involves several bushcraft skills, enabling rangers to patrol invisibly. The training provides rangers with the skills to track and apprehend poachers, as well as to defend themselves from heavily armed poachers.

The training programme was launched as a pilot project at the Madikwe Game Reserve, in North West, in October.

Ichikowitz notes that of the rhino poaching that has taken place at Madikwe, most has been conducted by members of the local community out of desperation for subsistence.

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