Rhino poaching is one of the most significant conservation issues currently facing South Africa and it is showing no signs of slowing. The number of rhino poaching victims that have arrived at HESC over the past few years is a clear indication of just how rife the vicious attacks on this species is. As a result of poaching and in an effort to save the rhino from extinction, we launched Rescued Rhinos @ HESC.
This programme aims to assist in the care, rehabilitation and reintroduction of orphaned and injured rhinos, affected directly by poaching, to the wild. Rescued Rhinos @ HESC also continues to raise awareness of the plight of the species among surrounding communities, the youth and the general public. It is hoped that with its experience, HESC can assist in the development of standard protocols for the treatment, rehabilitation, reintroduction and protection of the species.
We currently have eight young rhino orphans and four poaching survivors in our care. Consequently, it became necessary to develop anti-poaching initiatives to safeguard the rhinos at the centre and on the greater Kapama Game Reserve. At HESC, we also established our own Anti-Poaching Unit (APU) consisting of a team of highly trained individuals and canines. These dogs and their handlers form part of the crucial frontline defenses again rhino poachers. Our dogs are trained for every situation – be it tracking or attacking suspects!
Our APU members have gone through a gruelling Protrack Anti-Poaching Course, which is very similar to military training and prepares trainees for actual combat situations.
Maintaining the APU is a costly exercise, especially as we need to provide certain necessities for the team, such as uniforms and vehicles (to provide fast and reliable transport in order to reach danger spots quickly). We would appreciate any assistance you are able to provide, so we can ensure that this unit stays operational for as long as we still need to fight the war against poaching.