Sea Shepherd’s O.R.C.A. Force, in collaboration with South Africa’s anti poaching specialists SPOTS (Strategic Protection of Threatened Species) is using high tech equipment, working day and night to enforce anti-poaching law, guiding the rhino through the full moon cycle.
The full moon period each month is the most dangerous time for the critically endangered rhino. While the golden orb, floating over the African wilderness, creates an amazing panorama for tourists, it also illuminates the bush making the rhino a very easy target for illegal poachers to track down and kill for its immensely valuable horn.
“Over the last few days three rhino have been horribly killed in the surrounding reserves”, says South African team member Dinielle Stöckigt. “We are here to do whatever is needed to protect Africa’s natural treasures in this area.”
During the day O.R.C.A. Force team members assist in armed patrols, checking the perimeter fences for breaches and illegal intruders. At night we use high tech night vision, thermal imaging and UAS (Unmanned Aerial Systems) equipment to search for the criminals plundering South Africa’s natural resources.
Just the other night the team responded to three gunshots heard in close proximity to their encampment. Immediately the combined Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) team of SPOTS and Sea Shepherd launched UAS equipped with thermal imagery to search for movement on the ground.
“This is better than any volunteer experience I can imagine”, says UAS expert Jake Weber, ex Black Hawk and drone pilot for the US Army. “Having a 7.62 FN rifle in one hand, a pair of night goggles in the other, driving at 2 AM on rough tracks that can barely support a vehicle and flying Unmanned Aerial Systems to prevent endangered animals from extinction is not the typical safari experience– this is the real salt-of-the-earth stuff.”
Way to go Peter and team!
You can donate to help these high tech efforts to save the last rhino via Nikela (100% of your donation, minus bank fees, goes to protect rhino)