DSWF supporters help put ‘eyes in the sky’ to protect wildlife

Thanks to DSWF and the Olsen Animal Trust, the GRI – Kafue Conservation Project is preparing to put ‘eyes in the sky’ to further increase the protection of wildlife in the area.

“Employing a Savannah VG aircraft will be a game changer for our law enforcement and research support to the Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW) in Kafue National Park and will help us build on recent successes,” says GRI CEO, Sport Beattie.

The team, which now includes 125 rangers, has achieved some amazing successes and to-date, the Special Anti-poaching Unit (SAPU) alone has apprehended 509 poachers and confiscated 273 illegal firearms.

“The positive impact to wildlife of the team’s hard work and dedication cannot be underestimated and we are hugely proud to have helped fund this work,” says DSWF Chair of Trustees, Melanie Lamb. “The addition of the light aircraft will help drive up these successes but our work is only just beginning. To secure the Kafue National Park to a level where it can become sustainable we need to be supporting and empowering a minimum of 350 rangers.”

“This is not an insurmountable task,” adds Sport Beattie. “It costs £12 a day to support a ranger and £20 for a SAPU ranger, so it is well within our means to build our resources and our success rates.”

Stewart Rhoda, Technical Advisor to the Aerial Support Unit, and the pilot who will be flying the new aircraft is ready to start operations: “With 100 hours of flying under my belt I can now fly on my own and with radio comms being updated and improved I’m ready to go.”

We’ll bring you updates from the Aerial Support Unit as operations begin. Thank you to everyone who has supported this work and helped us fund this great new addition to the fight against wildlife crime in Zambia.

For more about DSWF’s work in Zambia click here

Aerial view of African elephant by Martin Harvey