Part of every Professional Hunter’s job description is anti poaching patrols and anti poaching unit management. On our Concession in the Waterberg mountains we have a very tight knit group of farmers that has really taken to technology to help assist each other.
They have monthly Fire Fighting meetings and Anti Poaching Meetings. Here everyone is notified of intel gathered from locals, people in the sector that has never been seen in the area, registration numbers of suspect vehicles spotted in the area, photo’s of suspect footprints ect.
I visited one of our Waterberg Concession this weekend to assist with fence maintenance and was notified on the Wednesday by the Bush Telegraph (Whatsapp) that some suspicious tracks had been found on one farmers farm that own’s Rhino.
The phone literally went ballistic, each farmer in the sector offered their help and in a question of 5 minutes an entire week’s anti poaching patrol was organised down to area and section you would be patrolling that night. I was allocated 2 late night shifts and one early morning shift. Each Shift last for around 3 Hours. If you notice suspect vehicles or anything out of the ordinary you would report it on the emergency radio channel.
You would investigate and see if this would be a threat to the sector and then report. On Saturday night as we came back from a fire fighting expedition with a team from First on Fire we were notified of a vehicle driving slowly without lights.
As one of our vehicles approached it sped away and couldn’t be followed due to the dust on the dirt road.
Everyone was notified of the heading direction of the vehicle and current position of the pursuers. All the teams deployed and 5 minutes later the vehicle was spotted and followed. We contacted the local Game theft department of the SAPS and a road block was setup within 10 minutes by other farmers & reservist police. The suspects was pulled over and received a thorough look over, after some time passed they were cleared and everyone went back to standby mode.
It was fortunate to be a part of a team of farmers that has a passion for what they do and will do everything to protect their Game. Everyone worked together to protect one of our country’s most valuable wild animal.
Well done to all involved on a stellar job, I had been invited to join the next patrol and I am excited to help these passionate farmers. The rest of the weekend was quite, but poachers beware we are out there looking and we will stop at nothing to protect our Rhino.
PH, Bernard de Lange