Last month, the South African Department of Environmental Affairs issued an update on its progress with the Implementation of the Integrated Strategic Management of Rhinoceros, between the period January 1 to August 30.
During this time, 508 rhino were poached in South Africa, compared to 691 for the same period in 2017. Approximately 400 suspects have been arrested and a total of 70 cases, involving 163 accused, were finalised. The trials have resulted in 93 percent guilty verdicts, translating to 288 years in sentencing.
While these are encouraging statistics in the fight to save the rhino, it is very clear that much more remains to be done. Assistance from the private sector is a key component…
In aid of this effort, Toyota South Africa Motors (TSAM) has donated a new Toyota Hilux 2.4 GD-6 SRX double-cab 4×4 to the South African National Parks (SANParks).
The vehicle will assist SANParks with the transportation of the Meerkat, a wide-area surveillance system, that can comb the bush for potential poachers. The system comprises a suite of radar and electro-optic sensors that are capable of detecting human movement, which is an important feature when it comes to anti-poaching measures.
SANParks CFO Dumisane Dlamini says the Hilux will enable SANParks to provide real-time intelligence information to field reaction forces.
“We appreciate the increased cooperation from ordinary members of the public and from corporate South Africa, and this vehicle is another important tool to be used to support existing anti-poaching efforts,” says Dlamini. “Toyota’s involvement through this donation signifies a constructive approach in the fight against wildlife crime and is much appreciated.”
The Hilux joins four Toyota Avanzas donated to SANParks in December 2017, which are currently being used for law enforcement and promoting staff visibility in the Kruger National Park.
Senior vice president of TSAM, Calvyn Hamman, says: “Toyota South Africa is committed to contributing towards social upliftment and environmental initiatives. Protecting our wildlife heritage is close to our heart and the plight of rhino, as well as other endangered species, is a matter that requires our attention – hence our commitment to supporting SANParks.”