"Every debate is important because it keeps the issue alive, and right now that is critical if rhinos are to survive." Ian Player
The Wilderness Foundation’s Forever Wild Conservation Programme was developed by the Wilderness Foundation in 2011 as a response to the rhino poaching crisis and is active through the Rhino Protection Initiative.
The programme is now in the process of being expanded to include lion, leopard, elephant and great white shark conservation initiatives as they represent key species symptomatic of the challenges facing the environments in which they live. By using iconic wildlife species as the flagship to draw attention to challenges facing conservation and wilderness areas across Africa, conservation initiatives can be directed towards these species resulting in the protection of landscapes and the associated wildlife including all the biological components which drive these systems.
The Forever Wild Conservation Programme will continue to work with both state and privately owned protected areas to promote effective management, expansion and innovative means to involve and benefit local communities.
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The Forever Wild Rhino Protection Initiative has deployed six VW Amarok vehicles to various reserves across the Eastern Cape and South Africa to assist in anti-poaching activities.
Due to security constraints, exact details of the vehicles cannot be given to the public, but here are some of our most recent highlights:
In June, one of the VW Amaroks was used at the MkhuzeAirshow in a live simulation of a rhino poaching reaction sequence. This included both the VW Amarok and a helicopter.
The Amaroks have also been used in the deployment of special ops members and tracker dogs following tip-offs, and investigations. A number of suspects have been arrested and poaching equipment confiscated – including many weapons.
The Wilderness Foundation’s Forever Wild Rhino Protection Initiative will be able to launch additional aerial support and patrols for anti-poaching activities following the donation of an Aquila Trike on Friday, October 18, 2013 at Shamwari Private Game Reserve.
After hearing about the Foundation’s successful anti-poaching efforts in the Eastern Cape, Andrew Woollon from DemcoTECH Engineering contacted the Foundation and offered to donate this aircraft towards conservation and anti-poaching efforts.
“We selected the Wilderness Foundation because they serve both private and national parks without any particular bias. We thought that the aircraft would be useful for overhead surveillance and monitoring of large areas,” says Woollon.
The highly effective Forever Wild Rhino Protection Initiative was given a boost in June 2011 through the sponsorship of six Volkswagen Amarok bakkies from Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles.
The vehicles were allocated to various reserves and anti-poaching units across the country, each managed by the Forever Wild head office team. This contract was renewed in 2012 and 2013.
In the video below, Lawrence, one of the rangers, talks about how his Amarok vehicle helps him be more effective in his various efforts to help prevent rhino poaching.