The past three months have been a relatively busy period for the Air-Wing. Most of our efforts have been assisting with rhino de-horning projects on various reserves in the Lowveld. Our Savannah aircraft plays an integral part of these operations, allowing us to spot and locate rhino, and then providing an aerial control platform assisting operations from above. As part of a greater Kruger dehorning project, 98 rhinos were de-horned over the July-September period alone.
We continue with our regular weekly patrol flights within the Associated Private Nature Reserves. This data has proven to be extremely useful to wardens, managers and section rangers in reserve management and ranger deployment.
Our new VHF equipment has been fitted to both Savannah aircrafts in the fleet and we will continue monitoring tagged rhino in our focus area. A number of rhino have recently been fitted with new satellite tracking devices, which is producing very interesting scientific data.
We also responded to a number of contacts and incursions over this period. We assisted in an operation with a successful poacher arrest. Unfortunately, during the period under review one rhino carcass was located from the air. Looking back in time over a similar period it is encouraging to see a decrease in rhino deaths. The effort we are putting in to try and protect these animals seems to be paying off, with dehorning also now having a marked impact.