In response to the escalating threat of rhino poaching in Swaziland, Big Game Parks (BGP) has introduced the use of dogs in the fight against poaching. This is one of a number of strategies which BGP has employed recently to increase the effectiveness of rhino protection.
BGP has recently partnered with Almanac Publishers and Stoprhinopoaching.com to send a number of rangers and dogs to attend an extended anti-poaching course, where they received specialised training over a number of months. The dogs are specially trained to assist the Rangers in various anti-poaching situations, and to enhance the effectiveness of day to day anti-poaching operations directed at protecting rhinos and other wildlife in the country.
“It is hoped that the use of the dogs will increase the success rate in anti-poaching operations, and further lead to a suppression of all forms of poaching and illegal activities on the parks, especially those that house Swaziland’s rhinos. BGP will continue to explore all legal avenues that can be used in the fight against poaching as we expect that increasing levels of criminal attention will be paid to Swaziland’s rhinos as the conflict escalates to warfare with a sharply rising human and rhino body count in South Africa, and the criminal syndicates look for alternative perceived soft targets”, said Mick Reilly of Big Game Parks.
BGP has also recently offered a substantial reward to anybody who comes forward with information with leads to the arrest and conviction of any suspect who is planning to poach rhinos in Swaziland. Rewards also stand to benefit informants of wildlife product traffickers who use Swaziland as a conduit for illegal wildlife products poached elsewhere.
“We would prefer to have rhinos alive and breeding with only a few people in jail who have been made an example of through the deterrent custodial sentences proscribed in the Game Act, before they commit the crime of killing any rhinos, rather than many suspects passing through our jails and Swaziland losing all her rhinos anyway. Swaziland’s Game Act is preventative in nature and is tough on trafficking and poaching, and it is hoped that poaching levels will remain under control. It is of utmost importance that the law enforcement effort is consistent throughout the process from the intelligence gathering phase to arresting the suspects and processing them through the courts in a manner that creates a clear disincentive to poach and traffic. Mozambique is the only country to hold the dubious record of having had rhinos go extinct for a 3rd time. If Swaziland is to avoid a second extinction, then a Zero tolerance towards poaching must be exercised, and this requires a dedicated team effort from the Rangers in the bush through to the Judges of the courts of appeal!” Reilly continued.
“Poachers, and Rhino Poachers in particular, are extremely determined and dangerous criminals. By the very nature of their gruesome trade, groups of poachers have to be heavily armed to deal with their targeted animals – and any Rangers that dare stand in their way. While law enforcement agencies are bound by rules of engagement and due processes, these criminals operate outside all laws except possibly at times those rules of their illegal trade as dictated by their criminal syndicate masters. While International boundaries served to curtail law enforcement activities through bureaucracy, the poaching syndicates use these to their advantage, crossing borders as and when they please.” Reilly continued.
The public at large is urged to assist with Swaziland’s conservation efforts by promptly providing the required information to avoid the levels of poaching taking root in Swaziland, that South Africa is now seeing,” Reilly concluded.
- Rhino Poaching Hotline – 00268 76500501
- 00268 76043867