We recieved an emergency funding request to support a security response to a rhino poaching incident in a lowveld game reserve. Unfortunately one adult white rhino cow and her calf were shot and the cow’s horn was removed. A ground anti-poaching team in the area were alerted by a muffled gunshot and made their way to the scene, but the thick bush and terrain made tracking and searching for the culprits on foot a slow and difficult chase.
Air support (R44 helicopter) was called in to try and locate the poachers from above and put eyes in the sky, to which we supported the effort by covering the cost of the 2 hours of flying (thanks to our Rapid Response Fund donars!). Using a combination of the helicopter, tracking dogs and rangers on foot, 2 of the poachers were apprehended, caught in a getaway vehcile with the horn of the rhino cow and rifle fitted with silencer in their possession –that’s prison.
It was an absolute tragedy to lose 2 rhinos but the swift action and ability to put a helicopter in the air so quickly meant more rhino’s were not targeted and the poachers are now in custody. An enormous and heartfelt thank you to our donors which allowed us to step in and take action. A big thank you too, to Jana from Hope for Wildife Helicopter for her skills and efforts.