|The aircraft sponsored by the conservation groups
WWF South Africa, Save the Rhino International,
the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the Hluhluwe
and iMfolozi Honorary Wildlife Officers is powered
by a three-litre, six-cylinder motor and has a
flying range of about four hours.
Flying Game Rangers, Dirk Swart, left, and Lawrence
Munro get behind the controls of Ezemvelo KZN
Wildlife’s new anti-poaching Bantam spotter.
Bheki Khoza, the executive director of Ezemvelo,
said he was confident that the spotter plane would
enable his staff to intensify the war against
well-funded horn poaching syndicates.
In the first five months of 2011, poachers
killed at least 160 rhinos across the country,
12 of them in KZN.
said he had been trying to persuade Ezemvelo
for more than 10 years of the need for aerial
surveillance capacity in the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi
Park, the cradle of rhino conservation in
Rhino poaching is nothing new, but over
the years I knew that it was going to get
worse because of the growth in value of
rhino horns and criminal syndicates.
The Bantam spotter is much cheaper to operate
than a helicopter or fixed-wing aircraft
and easy to land on bush airstrips.
Flying Game Rangers Dirk Swart, left, and
Lawrence Munro get behind the controls of
Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife’s new anti-poaching