The Howard G. Buffett Foundation has donated R255 million (USD $23.7 million) to fund
three-year initiative to combat rhino poaching in Kruger National Park and test anti-poaching tactics that can be applied in other regions of Africa.
The donation was announced by the foundation, together with the Nature Conservation Trust, and SANParks at the Rosebank office of Standard Bank, which has undertaken to provide favourable banking fees and interest on the funds.
The funds will support an initiative in Kruger that will create an Intensive Protection Zone (IPZ) using sophisticated detection and tracking equipment and infrastructure on the ground and in the air, combined with elite canine units and highly trained ranger teams.
Kruger’s IPZ will also serve as a testing ground to inform targeted efforts to combat poaching in these other African regions.
“SANParks – thanks to the leadership of David Mabunda– and Kruger National Park – under the direction of General Johan Jooste– provide a unique opportunity to test new technology and new ideas within the best operating national parks system on the continent,” said NCT Chairman and HGBF CEO, Howard G. Buffett. “This effort joins our foundation’s historic support for conservation with our current focus on conflict mitigation in Africa, particularly in the Great Lakes region.”
“The scale, complexity, and strategic value of this initiative is truly unprecedented for SANParks, and we believe will be transformative in our ongoing efforts to address poaching and the decimation of the rhino population in Kruger National Park,” said SANParks CEO, David Mabunda. He added that the lessons SANParks hoped to learn could be shared across the continent.
“We would like to assure you, Mr Howard Buffet, that we are determined not to lose this fight. We as South Africa certainly do not intend to capitulate and lose the battle for the survival of key members of the iconic Big Five,” said Minister of Environmental Affairs, Edna Molewa.
“We hope that your donation will spur more philanthropists to get involved in such a worthy cause. The rhino of South Africa are important to the whole world,” she added.
Kruger is home to over 40% of the world’s remaining 22 000 rhinos and the largest single population of rhinos in the world. Since January 2010, 1 383 rhinos have been poached from the park.
More than a thousand rhinos were poached in 2013 and 172 have been poached since the beginning of 2014.
…and now for an immediate comment on the same issue !
Rudi Hamman – March 15, 2014
This is absolutely absurd!
Funding the plan that Sanparks has to combat rhino poaching is a waste of time.
The killing will not stop because the way they go about it is WRONG!! You hear me Sanparks! WRONG! The poachers are laughing at you. You are trying to fight an enemy that is 10 steps ahead of you.
They know your tactics before you even know what to do. They are smarter than you. Your first mistake was to think they are a bunch of uninformed, unintelligent, unorganized criminals! They are NOT! A chopper! Really! Why not just walk around in the bush with a loud speaker screaming: “Here poacher poacher!” They know when that damn chopper starts it engine.
Then they go to the nearest pub and wait till the whirly bird runs out of fuel!
- Why not fund a group that had a plan to effectively combat poaching and trace it to the source with the help of international agencies?
- Why not fund the group who’s plan got rejected because death threats were received from said poachers?
- Why the death threats?
…because it was going to work and the plan was 10 steps ahead of the poachers plans!Here is the best part of it all! All funding would have gone to operational use! Not private parties to celebrate the generous donation.
- Oh, wait my kid has to go to overseas private school.
- Oh, and wait first have to give JZ some coin for his resort so that I can be invited to.
$25 million would have sustained the correct operation for 5 years or more! Would have been better for you to buy a few rhino’s and ship them to a private reserve in the USA. That would have been giving to a great cause.
I am just so tired of how all these half cocked efforts promise a solution and then get funded and finally just disappear or make for a shameful read in the papers, while the groups like myself sacrifice 2 years of our lives for research, planning, developing counter intelligence tactics, research and develop the proper equipment to fight the poachers and pull out the whole weed from its leaves to its roots.
What did we get!? Death threats and government stone walling us to the point where we needed to carry on with our lives and accept the truth!
Proper solutions will never get funded because some one makes a profit from the poaching. Half cocked solutions will get funded because they are focused on publicity, increasing the funders community standing and will not harm the man making the profit from the poaching.
That said I wish all of you good luck and that this funding will allow me to show my children a rhino in the wild one day.