The sun is yet to rise but already the dedicated men and women of Sabie Game Park are hard at work. Together we stand huddled along the shore of lake Corumana listening to the crackle of a radio and the sounds of the bush. To the North the dull thud of rotors chopping into the air grows louder and louder as our newest asset in the fight against poaching, draws near.
With the Kruger Park to our west and impoverished communities to our east, Sabie Game Park is a hot spot of activity in the war against Rhino poaching. The International Anti Poaching Foundation (IAPF) runs the operation on the ground giving them the responsibility of protecting our Rhino.
The helicopter lands with a shower of dust and we run towards it with heads bowed as we climb in. The pilot skillfully eases the machine off the ground as we skim over the reserve at tree top level , keeping our eyes peeled for any sign of activity. We fly over herds of buffalo , hippo and elephant but no sign of our quarry. Suddenly if comes over the radio, Rhino at 3 o’clock , approximately 1 kilometer. The pilot manoeuvre us into position as we asses the situation. Two animals , a female and a sub-adult calf stand together waiting nervously as the helicopter approaches.
A quick check by the pilot and his spotters determines the sex , species and approximate age of the animals. A GPS co-ordinate is taken and a quick ID kit of the animals is put together for future reference. Once this vital data has been collected we ease away and watch as the rhino disappear into the vastness of the reserve.
This task is repeated daily in an effort to afford as much protection to these prehistoric animals as possible. In 2013 the Mail and Guardian online magazine Listed rhino as extinct within Mozambique. Today, through a massive commitment of time , money and resources Sabie Game Park brings you a different story. With a growing resident population of rhino Sabie Game Park and IAPF are a story of success in a trying time for conservation.