The perilous 1,000-mile journey to save Africa’s endangered black rhinos
28 Oct 2022
On 31 July 2013 Limpopo National Park, the Mozambican component of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier park, celebrated World Ranger Day with an event held at Massingir. Since 1992, World Ranger Day has been celebrated around the world each year on July 31st, the anniversary of the founding of the International Ranger Federation. The day celebrates the work of field rangers as the key protectors of parks and conservation.
The event in Massingir started with the planting of trees at the park’s Massingir gate and arrival centre. The trees were supplied from the park’s Chibotane community nursery and were planted by the Limpopo National Park administrator Mr Antonio Abacar, the community programme coordinator Ms Ricardina Matusse and Ms Lourdes, the park’s community extensionist responsible for the community nursery.
In addressing the field rangers, Mr Abacar said that, over the past year, the park had focused on securing additional funding for the protection department with an immediate priority to improve the living conditions of the field rangers. To date the park had purchased new tents, beds and matrasses. It had also completed the construction of Mapai field ranger base and the repair of the Pafuri field ranger base, while good progress was being made with improving the temporary Massingir field ranger base. New equipment had also been acquired, including the remobilisation of rifles previously used in the park and the purchase of an additional 30 rifles. In recognition of these improvements, the field rangers presented park management and Peace Parks Foundation with certificates of appreciation.
Limpopo National Park continues to play a critical and increasingly important role in combatting wildlife crime and rhino poaching in the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park. To date, 22 poachers have been arrested and seven rifles confiscated in 2013. There has been increased collaboration with Kruger National Park, and various special interventions are planned for the park, including the demarcation of and intensive protection zone along the border with Kruger. The completion of the resettlement process remains a critical success factor to ensuring a 70km wide eastern conservation buffer to Kruger National park’s rhino population, while enabling the natural expansion of wildlife throughout Limpopo National Park.
Protection unit receives new bicycles for increased patrols
With the increased attention on combatting wildlife crime and rhino poaching, Limpopo National Park is grateful for the generous donation of 15 Qhubeka bicycles, sponsored by Baden Bolling (7 years old) from the USA through the World Bicycle Relief organisation.
The hard-wearing bicycles will be deployed at strategic locations along the border to extend the park’s rhino anti-poaching and snare patrolling capabilities. Bicycles will also be used along the newly constructed 56km south-eastern barrier fence to patrol, inspect and repair the fence if and when necessary. The fence was erected to reduce human/wildlife conflict in the buffer zone of the park.
By Antony Alexander
Limpopo National Park
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