The Greater Kruger Environmental Protection Foundation (GKEPF) was established in 2016, in direct response to the alarming number of endangered animals killed by poachers in the region of the Greater Kruger National Park (GKNP) – an area which encompasses more than 20 million hectares of unfenced wilderness.
Eleven founding members, including nine private reserves, one provincial park and one national park, came together to form an alliance and registered a non-profit company, GKEPF, to service the protection needs of the western and eastern flanks of the Kruger National Park and the Greater Limpopo Transfrontier National Park. For the most part these wildlife and ecologically sensitive areas are open to the Kruger National Park with no fences separating them.
In the space of just a few years, GKEPF has been involved in anti-poaching co-ordination and co-operation, preventing many poaching attempts, successfully rolling-out the physical placement of numerous technologies and reporting systems in an integrated ‘Operations Control’ cell and outside in the field, as well as, setting up close working relationships with communities in the area through their members and alliance partners.
The GKEP Zone (GKEPZ) is home to a significant population of elephants and rhinos. Despite a decrease in poaching figures in recent years, wildlife remains under significant threat from the illegal trade in wildlife products, notably ivory and rhino horn. With increasing global awareness around the importance of the Sustainable Development Goals, Climate Change and Biodiversity Agendas, taking action to stop the illegal trade has become more important than ever before.
Playing a pivotal co-ordination and operational role, GKEPF operates in co-operation and association with the South African National Parks (SANParks), Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency, The Peace Parks Foundation (PPF) and the World Wide Fund for Nature South Africa (WWF-SA).