KZN Rhino Watch: all the details

26 September 2012 - 11:30 

East Coast Radio is throwing its weight behind rhino anti-poaching efforts and has teamed up with various organisations to launch KZN Rhino Watch.

The project, in partnership with theLawrence Anthony Earth Organizationand King Shaka Aviation, will ensure aerial patrols of game parks where these prehistoric animals are under attack.  

The station is passionate about wildlife and could not sit by and watch the ongoing plundering of rhinos in parks throughout the province.

In KwaZulu-Natal alone, 46 rhinos have already been killed this year. Over the past weekend, ironically the World Rhino Day and Heritage Day long weekend, four rhinos were poached in Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park alone, while five other carcases were discovered.

East Coast Radio?s KZN Rhino Watch project co-ordinator, Diane Macpherson, says the station decided to back an applauded chopper initiative which ran for several months before being grounded at the end of April this year due to lack of funding.

She says, ?We investigated and the results while the initiative was in operation were impressive. Poaching in the southern section of Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park was slashed by between 50 and 80 percent during the pilot project.?

Macpherson says, ?Our dream is to ultimately get four choppers up in the skies, covering the entire province, but this will take a lot of resources to achieve. To fund one chopper for a year will cost R1.2-million. We?re hoping KwaZulu-Natalians will rise up in unison and give their support to KZN Rhino Watch.?

All donations made will go via East Coast Radio?s partner, The Lawrence Anthony Earth Organization.

The NGO?s Yvette Taylor says they?ve pledged that 100 percent of the money will go towards the project.

?We lost 62 000 rhino between 1970 and 1992 in the rest of Africa, that means we could lose our rhino in just over 10 years. It is time for action and we need everyone?s help. The deployment of helicopter surveillance and rapid response has proven to be a highly effective method of combating this crisis. The Lawrence Anthony Earth Organization is fully supporting this programme,? she said.

Click here for more details on the latest rhino poaching statistics in KZN.