Field kits donated to MTPA rangers
As guardians, overseers, and stewards of the environment, it is important that rangers have all the equipment they need to perform their duties.
On Tuesday, June 7, WWF South Africa’s Khetha Program, with support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), donated ranger kits to the Tourism and Parks Agency of Mpumalanga (MTPA) for their rangers in the Mthethomusha nature reserve.
Rangers serve the country, conservation areas, communities and future generations.
Relentless pressure from the wildlife crime syndicates behind rhino poaching and horn trafficking has forced rangers to take on an ever greater law enforcement role. This comes with significant challenges, as many conservation areas are under major resource constraints, exacerbated by the loss of tourism revenue due to lockdown.
MTPA board member Thenjiwe Nkosi said rangers are like guardians of our planet’s most precious assets and it is disconcerting to think that every day they go to work and their lives is in danger due to human greed, cruelty and desperate agendas.
“The South African government has released the latest poaching statistics. It shows a devastating number of 451 rhinos that were killed by poachers between January and December 2021. This is the first time in six years that we have seen such a significant increase in poaching in the country. We sincerely hope this is not a sign of what is to come. Fortunately, 451 remains more than 20% lower than the 2019 number. This shows that the general poaching trend continues to decline.
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A senior ranger, Sikhumbuzo Thwala, spoke on behalf of the recipients of the equipment. He said that as rangers, they appreciated all that they had received from WWF South Africa’s Khetha program, with the support of USAID, and that it would have a huge impact for them.
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“Due to the shortage that we have sometimes experienced, we have not been able to perform some of our tasks properly. With these kits, we will be able to do our job more easily during load shedding, night and day.
We would like to urge sponsors to continue doing their job at our camps as we still have some challenges ahead. We have water shortages. We also have a camp that was destroyed by communal unrest.