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Media Release: KNP Rangers demonstrate their skills

Date: 22nd May 2008

The Kruger National Park Rangers were out in the field today (Thursday May 22, 2008) near Malelane Entrance Gate in the extreme South of the park, where they celebrated their Ranger’s Day by demonstrating what they do best which is to combat poaching and to maintain the integrity of the park.

The Kruger National Park Rangers were out in the field today (Thursday May 22, 2008) near Malelane Entrance Gate in the extreme South of the park, where they celebrated their Ranger’s Day by demonstrating what they do best which is to combat poaching and to maintain the integrity of the park.

During his keynote address at the event, the KNP’s Managing Executive Dr Bandile Mkhize praised the Ranger Corps for their recent anti-poaching successes and said that although the incidents of rhino poaching seem to have increased in the recent years, 80% of the poachers involved in these actions are behind bars or awaiting trial which shows how successful the KNP’s anti poaching efforts have been lately.

Attended by members of the SANParks volunteer organisation the Honorary Rangers, SANParks staff members, members of the media and various other invited guests, the KNP Ranger’s Day is an annual event where the park’s regional rangers, section rangers and field rangers are able to demonstrate their skills and show their dedication to their responsibility of protecting the area integrity of one of the world’s most famous protected areas.

“We must also salute the rangers from all sections who patrol the entire Kruger on a daily basis.  We do not doubt that their patrols act as a visible deterrent to any would-be poacher and I think we should all salute their efforts,” Dr Mkhize added.

The highlight of the day was definitely an action-packed demonstration of the KNP Rangers’ new Bantam Ultralight Aircraft and a simulated casualty evacuation exercise where the SANParks Eurocopter AS350 B3 Squirrel helicopter was used to take a wounded ranger to safety after a mock “skirmish” with poachers.

“As a manager, my job is to ensure that rangers’ work conditions are as good as they can be in order to guarantee that their work can be done to the best of their abilities. I hope I haven’t disappointed them in any way and I will continue to help and support them as I believe the KNP ranger corps is the corner stone of our biodiversity conservation efforts as South African National Parks,” concluded Dr Mkhize.

Other demonstrations during the event included musketry, drilling and an impressive fire and movement “mock assault” on a fictitious group of armed poachers. These demonstrations were done by rangers from the various regions of the park.

The KNP is divided into 22 ranger sections, each with a section ranger and an average of 10 field rangers. There are also four regions (Nxanatseni North, Nxanatseni South, Nkayeni and Marula), each of which with a regional ranger.

KNP rangers past and present will also be involved with the KNP’s 110 Birthday event, which will run from Monday May 26, 2008 until Saturday June 14, 2008.

Issued by:
Raymond Travers, Media Relations Practitioner, Kruger National Park. Contact: Tel: 013 735 4116, cell: 082 908 2677 or email: raymondt@sanparks.org

Enquiries:
William Mabasa, HOD: Public Relations and Communications, Kruger National Park. Contact: Tel: 013 735 4363, cell: 082 807 3919 or email: williamm@sanparks.org

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