Focused, realistic and practical in-field refresher training and mentoring sessions can quickly raise capability and effectiveness and boost the commitment and motivation of ranger teams. However, it needs to be sustained on a continual and repeated basis.
In order to achieve this and since January 2019, I have been working closely with Project Rhino and the Game Rangers Association of Africa in implementing projects at ground level and by extending an on-going partnership through promoting protected area ranger capability and support with the private rhino reserves in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa.
Through this initiative we have undertaken numerous Protected Area Ranger Capability and Support assessments to determine ranger readiness and reserve capability to tackle wildlife crime issues. In follow onto these assessments, ranger capability has been supported and enhanced by ensuring solid integration between the ZAPWING, the Project Rhino K9 unit and ranger teams on the ground. In-field refresher training and mentoring was undertaken that focusses on increasing speed and capability of responding to and preventing incidents through simulated counter-poaching and rhino protection operations. Strategy, tactics and command and control workshops were also run with the senior reserve managers responsible for law enforcement. In working with the various rangers, I found nothing but committed and motivated teams that with good training, the right equipment and good leadership excel in their willingness to prevent poaching from happening. These efforts not only keep the teams highly effective but also motivates them and importantly builds team cohesion and camaraderie.
Please go across to the Project Rhino and Game Rangers Association of Africa websites and social media pages to follow them and also please consider donating to the incredible work that they are doing in protecting critical populations of the worlds rhino and by supporting Africa’s rangers. Both organisations have 100% transparency with all donations going directly to conservation.