Sharon Haussmann, CEO of GKEPF, explains the importance of pooling resouces between affected parties against wildlife crime, specifically for rhino poaching. It is an ongoing challenge to co-ordinate security efforts in the 400,000 ha area that GKEPF is involved in. It is very difficult to deploy effectively on the ground. Air support is one of the many critical aspects of support offered by GKEPF to its members. It does, however, come at great expense.

GKEPF is fortunate to have incredible donors. Recently, a helicopter was sponsored for an extensive period, with running costs, and this made a huge difference in efforts in the area especially during the critical COVID time. It was not only a fantastic presence, the helicopter was deployed on various operations, but it also afforded the ability to provide much needed training for rangers and canines in the reserves. This means that when teams go into actual operations they are already familiar with procedures and are comfortable with themselves and their canines in the helicopters.

“It was very valuable for field rangers. They definitely got more relaxed with this exposure to the machines and it has really been worth a lot from a training point of view.”
Rian Ahlers
Balule Private Nature Reserve Regional Manage