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As the year draws to a close and we all look to having a rest and festive time with family and friends, spare a thought for our courageous and dedicated field rangers who are out there still doing everything they can to save our rhinos from the scourge of poaching.
As they go out in to the bush in the sweltering December heat, they leave behind families, children and loved ones who wait anxiously for their safe return. Please pause during this December, as you share a special meal with your loved one, and remember these brave men and women who risk everything to save our rhinos for future generations.
We salute you all and we thank you for your dedication. May our rhinos stay safe and may you return safely to your loved ones.
Wishing all our friends, supporters and our ranger heroes a wonderful Festive Season and may 2015 be one where the tide does turn in favour of our rhinos.
Thank you all for your wonderful support during the year. We need your help to continue this war against poaching.
Kind regards from the team at Unite against Poaching
3 December 2014
Three men have been sentenced to 10 years in prison each for rhino poaching by the Skukuza Periodical Court in the Kruger National Park. Their charges included trespassing, illegal hunting and possession of illegal firearm and ammunition.
Julea Khasa, Thomas Mashele and Bright Chikunga were arrested in Nwanetsi in the park in October 2014. During their arrest, they were found in possession of two rhino horns.
The number of rhinos killed in the country since the beginning of the year is now above 1020. The Kruger National Park is the hardest hit having lost more than 670 rhinos in the past eleven months.
More than 344 suspected rhino poachers have been arrested since January. Thirty-eight suspected rhino poachers appeared at the Skukuza Periodical Court on Wednesday alone. Their cases have been postponed.
In the same court, two Mozambican men, Khasa, Mashele and their co-accused Chikunga from Zimbabwe were sentenced 10 years imprisonment for illegal hunting, five years for possession of firearms, 18 months for ammunitions and three months for trespassing.
The State Prosecutor Isabet Erwee says the three men were given lenient sentences because they pleaded guilty on all the charges.
Their sentences will run concurrently.
Rhino poaching continues despite all the measures that are put in place by government and various Non- Governmental Organisations aimed at curbing the illegal killing of these animals.
We are delighted to present a sneak peek of the Rhino Tears wines.
These 2 delightful drinking wines have been specially crafted by the winemakers at Mount Vernon in support of Unite against Poaching.
For each bottle sold, the winemaker will make a significant donation to the Unite against Poaching fund.
These wines are NOW available at Macro, Germiston, Woodmead and Centurions and as further outlets come on board we will share those details as they become available.
To order wines directly from the winemaker (at R 55 a bottle) for delivery anywhere in South Africa please click here and the friendly team from the winery will contact you to arrange for payment and delivery.
to fill in your order!
Survival equipment to the value of R2 million was handed over at a ceremony in Phalaborwa today, 31 October 2014. Major General (r) Johan Jooste, Commanding Officer, Special Projects for South African National Parks, and representatives of the Ranger Corps were on hand to receive the equipment. The donation was made possible by the Unite against Poaching Trust and the SANParks Honorary Rangers.
Louis Lemmer (Chairman, SANParks Honorary Rangers), Maj Gen Jooste ( Commander, Special Operations KNP), John Turner & Snowy Botha ( SANParks Honorary Rangers Conservation Services)
The equipment which was handed over comprises of basic as well as specialist equipment, which is needed by the men and woman of the Ranger Corps within the Kruger National Park. It includes survival tools such as tents, camp mattresses, torches, sleeping bags, knives, groundsheets, ponchos, water bottles, cooking equipment, headlamps, mosquito nets, medical equipment and GPS’s. Rangers spend extended periods of time in the bush in clandestine operations to fight the poachers. Specialised as well as basic survival equipment is needed to enable them to perform these duties effectively.
Unitrans Volkswagen, in establishing the innovative “Unite against Poaching Trust” is committed to making a significant and sustainable difference in the war against rhino poaching within our national Parks. The Funding for the Unite against Poaching Trust is generated primarily from a Unitrans Volkswagen corporate pledge. For every vehicle sold both new and pre-owned in the 10 participating dealership countrywide, funds are pledged to the Unite against Poaching Trust. Since its inception three years ago, the Unite against Poaching Trust has donated more than R 8 million towards anti-poaching projects within our National Parks. What makes this initiative so unique is that 100% of the funds pledged are utilised for anti-poaching support.
Kevin Gillmer Divisional Chief Executive of Unitrans Volkswagen is determined to ensure that the funds which are pledged to the Unite against Poaching Trust are used effectively and efficiently in support of those men and woman who are on the ground, putting their lives on the line and fighting to ensure the rhinos are safeguarded for future generations. The SANParks Honorary Rangers is the official volunteer organisation of SANParks. Through their close working relationship with the SANParks counter poaching unit they know where the priority needs are. Because the Honorary Rangers are unpaid volunteers no funds are used for administration and every sent donated towards counter poaching is utilised solely for this purpose. They therefore have the unique ability to best utilise the resources available to make a real difference in the poaching war on the ground. “This equipment handover once again confirms our ongoing commitment to the war against rhino poaching in general and rhino poaching in particular” Gillmer said. “We need to make sure that our rangers are as well as, if not better equipped, than the poachers they come up against on a daily basis.
“It is our privilege to represent the people of South Africa in support of our national parks.” said Louis Lemmer, National Chairperson of the SANParks Honorary Rangers. “South Africans are united against rhino poaching. It is through the support of the people of South Africa and proudly South African companies such as Unitrans Volkswagen, that we will win this war.”
Unitrans Volkswagen is justifiably proud of their contribution, in partnership with the SANParks Honorary Rangers, ensuring that the Rangers in the field are able to continue to safeguard the rhinos for future generations. We would like to encourage members of the public and corporates to join us in this fight against rhino poaching within our national parks by ensuring that the next Volkswagen vehicle they purchase is made from one our participating dealerships. The more vehicles which are purchased the more funding we are able to pledge to the fight against rhino poaching. Please visit www.uniteagainstpoaching.co.za to see how you can make a difference. The time is now, for everyone to Unite against Poaching to help ensure this precious heritage for our children’s children.