Solo Gives Back - Introducing Karingani Game Reserve Equine Anti-Poaching Unit

Solo Gives Back - Introducing Karingani Game Reserve Equine Anti-Poaching Unit

With the current, ever evolving, rhino poaching crisis we face in Southern Africa, Karingani Game Reserve, a 143,000 Hectare private reserve in Southern Mozambique bordering the Kruger National Park, has piloted a mounted horse unit as part of their security strategy. The Equine Anti-Poaching Unit (EAPU) adds a specialized tool to their existing nine anti-poaching ground unit teams to fight the war on poaching.

Karingani’s APU works closely with KNP’s ranger teams, in particular, the Section Rangers of the two adjacent KNP sections in South Africa: Nuanetsi and Houtboschrand. The overall security strategy of Karingani works on the concept of ‘Fortress conservation’ – Fully understanding that the long-term solution to the scourge of wildlife crime can only be addressed with robust and practical local community economic development outside the reserve, the need for a strong reactive security force inside the protected area is paramount to safeguarding the wildlife within; essentially buying time for the external community programs to develop and have tangible effects. In the context of rhino, time is rapidly running out with the tipping point of minimum viable populations and deaths exceeding recruitment imminent, if not already present.

The EAPU was established in early 2018 with 4 horses as well as 4 specialized trained field rangers. In this short time the EAPU has become an indispensable extension of the anti-poaching efforts within Karingani. The horses were carefully identified and selected based on their breed, temperament and accustomization to wildlife.

The deployment of these mounted scouts has been highly successful in the context of extending patrol distances (up to 30km per day), allowing for patrols to carry more equipment and making them faster and more effective in pursuing and engaging with poaching gangs when incursions are encountered.

Currently running as a pilot project, the long-term vision is to motivate sufficient funding to expand the EAPU to 5 units of 4 horses and scouts each.

Solo Saddlers have recently made a generous commitment towards the EAPU by supplying specialized equine equipment at a significantly discounted price: with the recent equipment purchase the EAPU will be in a position to further extend their daily patrol routine using the Solo Featherweight Trail Saddles.

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