This small group of heroes is working in the Greater Kruger National Park complex known as the APNR on the Balule North Game Reserve our core area of 6000 hectors will help secure 100 of thousands of hectors and currently the most critical piece of land on the planet for rhino conservation. Tucked into the northern sector of this area, the International Coalition of Rhino Protection (ICORP) Counter Poaching unit supports all efforts in the daily struggle against the poaching of rhinos and elephant. It is all that stands between the world’s highest concentrations of rhino and elephant free ranging on these conservation areas and the world’s highest concentration of rhino poaching syndicates. Despite this, it has remained an almost forgotten anomaly in South Africa’s top-level conservation planning for the past couple of years and continues to act as a highway for rhino poachers entering the BNGR and the bigger complex known as the APNR (associated private Nature Reserves) comprising the Klaserie, Timbavati, Umbabat Private Nature Reserves and the Kruger National Park.
The Kruger National Park, South Africa, is home to up to 40% of the worlds remaining rhino. 90% of these rhinos reside in the bottom half of KNP below the Ollifants River, where our unit will be operating, with the Olifants River being our boundary. Major General Johan Jooste, head of Special Operations in KNP, asserts that around 80% of the poachers responsible for this carnage come from Mozambique, but have changed incursions routes from the west, Phalaborwa, Hoedspruit and Acornhoek I South Africa. These gangs exit back into communities around the Northern side of the Balule North Game Reserve. The Balule North Game Reserve boarders with the KNP (Kruger National Park) and the Klaserie Private Game Reserve, an open conservation area, where poachers are slaughtering rhino and now elephant creating a stretch of land known as the killing fields.
Wave upon wave of armed and dangerous poaching gangs are killing rhinos to smuggle their horns to Vietnam, and the elephant deaths from poachers are increasing dramatically, to get ivory to areas c. ICORP’s CPU stands in the gap; acting as a stopper and buffer, becoming a deterrent and disruptive force to all poaching events on this landscape, and cutting off poaching infiltration, into this arena, of the Balule Game Reserve. This also includes ridding the area of meat poachers with dogs and machetes. On this Reserve, snaring also happens on a massive scale so that meat can be dried and used as rations for the rhino poachers. These poachers spend days at a time in areas where rhinos are found, patiently waiting to strike.
Our team needs to be well equipped and supported. Its Rangers risk their lives daily and are away from their families for long periods at a time. Their needs are real and we rely heavily on the good-natured folks out there to step up and become friends of our CPU team. Our operational needs are critical and we have to be one step ahead of our foe. We have a number of projects to be funded, so that we are able to operate at a high level, keeping rhino and elephant alive against a foe that is well equipped and armed.
ICORP has a full circle approach. Communities – Rangers and Wildlife.
We have made a commitment to this cause and are determined to achieve the best outcome for our wildlife.
Thanking you Kindly
Marc Mc Donald
Founder and Special Ground Operations