Rangers Identifying Footprints - Phoenix Fund
David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation (DSWF) has been supporting wildlife rangers in Africa and Asia for over thirty years. Their tireless efforts are a testament to the success of our ground-based conservation partners who provide unwavering operational, training and welfare support.
In the past year we have seen an increase in protection to endangered wildlife due to the exceptional work of Rangers on the ground. Through DSWF funding our ground-based conservation partners have been able to increase the number of boots on the ground, provide vital kit, technology, and supplies, improve transport and communications as well as providing enhanced training. Due to this we have seen the following impacts from our ground-based conservation partners:
Save The Rhino Trust continue to provide equipment, rations, and incentives such as sighting bonuses and field day allowances to over 60 rhino rangers.41 Rhino Rangers in north-western Namibia were also honoured at the Annual Kunene Rhino Awards. Rangers were recognised for their tireless work to protect Namibia’s free ranging black rhino.48,588 kilometres were covered by the rangers across areas protecting specially desert adapted black rhinos in Namibia in the past year, an all-time record.This year our partners also officially launched a new Ranger Welfare Programme which included providing basic first aid training to 71 rangers including individual first aid kits to each ranger.
In Assam, law enforcement efforts are boosted by ground-based conservation partner Aranyak’s K9 sniffer dogs, supported by DSWF. Along with their handlers, the dogs have covered around 1,275km in the last year, providing support to rhino and tiger protection patrols within the protected areas and leading to the apprehension and arrest of 21 poachers in the last six months. However, poaching remains a challenge in the area with increasingly professionalized poaching outfits operate in the region.
The Snow Leopard Trust’s program supports seven community rangers who patrolled a total of 5,750 kilometres on foot and a further 12,500 kilometres on motorcycles within Tost Nature Reserve in the last reporting yearall in preservation of vital snow leopard populations whose numbers remain stable with a healthy breeding population in the region.
In and around the Hwange National Park, anti-poaching units have exceeded expectations managing 53 patrols a month against a target of 40 and covering 16,000 kilometres on foot, removing over 5,300 snares and saving the lives of at least 500 animals including the endangered painted dog. This is based on conservative estimates that approximately 10% of snares placed in the bush result in the killing of wildlife.28 poachers were arrested and prosecuted.
22,637 kilometres were patrolled, 171 poachers were apprehended, 1,900 traps removed, and 176 hunter’s camps were shut down in Pu Mat National Park, Vietnam, home to pangolins, elephants, and many other endangered species. Alongside this the installation of 12 Poacher Cams has helped with the identification and arrest of suspects involved in the illegal wildlife trade including11 poachers being arrested and a further 12 being fined.
Game Rangers International’s (GRI), rangers covered 38,575 kilometres on foot in and around the Kafue National Park, home to elephants and other endangered wildlife. 69 suspects were apprehended, and 54 prosecutions were made. In addition, aerial surveillance has enhanced patrols which has vastly increased GRI’s ability to provide a secure environment for the release elephants, the wild elephants and other key species. The plane has allowed the ability to access, at least visually, areas of the National Park which were previously inaccessible due to high water levels, which has been invaluable to operations.
DSWF funding helps support 125 rangers who work in six protected areas focused on the protection of the Amur Tiger. In the past year rangers have patrolled 15,605 km on foot, 332,099 km by motorized vehicles, 19,261 km by snowmobile, 5,369 km by quadbike, and 55,734 km by boat patrol. This has led to 386 noted violations including trespassing and illegal hunting.
In Murchison Falls National Park, five radio towers have been installed, increasing the communications coverage of the park from 5% to 80%. Although patrol data has not yet been received, the regular scout and ranger patrols have removed thousands of snares from the bush. Snaring remains a huge problem and without regular patrols to remove the snares, many more animals would die. On a recent patrol, which two members of the DSWF team joined, 102 snares were found and removed from the park within just four hours.
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Ranger with Snare - Lawrence Avery