Pilanesberg gets anti-poaching boost from Forever Wild

Words & Photos: Wilderness Foundation

On Friday, April 26, 2013, the Pilanesberg National Park in the North West Province received a much-welcomed boost from the Forever Wild Rhino Protection Initiative in the form of three vehicles for its anti-poaching unit. Two of the fully equipped vehicles will be used by anti-poaching teams to patrol the park, while the other will be used by the K9 anti-poaching dog unit. The K9 vehicle has been equipped with two dog transportation crates for the deployment of dogs in any location within the park. With an area of 550km², it is the fourth largest park in South Africa.

The Forever Wild Rhino Protection Initiative is a project of the Wilderness Foundation. The initiative is concerned with maintaining populations of free ranging rhino within state and privately managed conservation areas.


The Initiative supports conservation agencies and organized private game reserves in protecting their rhino as part of a functioning natural ecosystem. It also aims to focus the attention of politicians and decision-makers and encourage them to apply pressure both nationally and abroad to address the issue of illegal trade in rhino horn and other wildlife products.


The Initiative recently received an endowment from an individual who was passionate about the environment, and wanted to help ensure the preservation of the country’s natural heritage. The finances were directed towards the anti-poaching unit at the Pilanseberg National Park which was close to the donor’s heart.


At the launch and handover, Lee Dormer from the Wilderness Foundation highlighted the need to look at the long term effects of allowing a species like the rhino to become extinct. “Every time a species goes extinct it is like removing a rivet from spaceship Earth. When does it self-destruct? We have a moral obligation to hand over the planet to future generations in at least as good shape as when we inherited it, if not in better shape.”


The Wilderness Foundation’s Forever Wild Rhino Protection Initiative raises funds for a number of anti-poaching activities. Apart from the three vehicles donated to the Pilanesberg, it has:


- Provided funds to assist aerial support in the Eastern Cape


- Supplied equipment and funds to the hawks and special police investigating units


- Assisted with four-wheelers to reserves in the Eastern & Western Cape


- Supplied educational materials for schools


- Established a rhino hot-line


- Set up a Rhino Survival Fund to rescue and rehabilitate poached rhinos who have survived together with internationally recognised veterinarian, Will Fowlds.