Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife has the great good fortune to have an extremely active volunteer Honorary Officers Corps, which was formed many years ago to provide active assistance with many different aspects of conservation. The Honorary Officers are well known for their innovative solutions to some of the problems they have faced and jointly solved with Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife staff. A group of Honorary Officers recently put forward the idea of forming an air-wing to assist field staff with aerial anti-poaching surveillance, as well as assisting with aerial survey and various biodiversity conservation monitoring activities.

All the aircraft used by the air-wing are privately owned and maintained, and all the pilots are very enthusiastic, as air-wing operations enable them to indulge in the their passion for flying while making a very real contribution to biodiversity conservation. The air-wing contribution is set to be of great value as they can provide a great deal of data with regard to mapping, vegetation distribution surveys, monitoring the spread of invasive alien plants, monitoring of threatened wildlife species, hot pursuit during anti-poaching operations, and much more. Just being the “eyes in the sky” over a protected area will be of enormous benefit, let alone the benefit gained from a focussed and specific operation.

All flight data will be logged on a GIS database, while also being fed to Honorary Officer groups on the ground for use on tactical planning of anti-wildlife crime operations in conjunction with Ezemvelo field staff and the SAPS.

In order for the air-wing to achieve its full potential, it will require some financial assistance to help cover the cost of fuel and the purchase of certain equipment, as well as paying for landing fees that accrue with each flight they make. Should any of our Rhino Club members wish to make a donation it can be done directly to the Airwing Honorary Officers Group banking account, which is: Standard Bank, Current account number 061607495.

For any further information please email horegion@telkomsa.net


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