ANTIPOACHING AIRCRAFT: CURRENT PROJECT CRITICAL NEED
Gorongosa National Park: http://www.gorongosa.org
One BatHawk antipoaching aircraft was delivered in 2015 funded and donated by Wilderness Conservancy.
This park/game reserve was, before the Rhodesian bush war, and the Mozambique civil war, the premier reserve in Mozambique. The effort to bring back the wildlife of the Gorongosa began earlier in 2015 headed by two Americans, Mike Marchington and Greg Carr. Mike and Greg have liaised with the Mozambique government and have been training and equipping local men in large numbers as game management teams inclusive of antipoaching units. They have also brought in wildlife from other areas to reestablish viable populations of wildlife. Due to the vast and rugged terrain of Gorongosa, a second BatHawk aircraft is badly needed. The first BatHawk has proven its value but given that elephants are being killed in large numbers each week, another is needed.
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Flying over Lake Urema, the heart of Gorongosa. "Pictures do not do justice to the beauty of the place"
The Bat Hawk plane donated by Wilderness Conservancy on display during Gorongosa National Park's World Forestry Day as well as the traditional blessing ceremony to open the park.
Photo credit: Carlos Serra
U.S. Ambassador Dean Pittman's made his first visit to Gorongosa National Park when he attended with Minister Correia in honor of World Forestry Day. He also reviewed the anti-poaching efforts including the Bat Hawk donated by Wilderness Conservancy.
Photo credit: Carlos Serra
Matabela, a young, well grounded and very keen African pilot just awarded with his symbolic “Gorongosa wings". James Ant White (right), an environmental protector, forester and close friend to WildCon checking on the plane.
Matabela making preflight checks before piloting James Ant White in Gorongosa Park. On the flight they picked up a poachers camp along the Pungue River. "Man an eye in the sky is a great help".
Within just the first 2 months of patrol with the Wilderness Conservancy donated BatHawk:
"Thank you very much for all your massive support, it is now giving us the opportunity of having eyes above the Park on a constant basis.
We started the aerial patrols on the 16th of December. Due to weather conditions we did not fly every day, but the support from the bathawk to the ground teams has been great.
We have done a total of 14 hours of aerial patrols.
These patrols have resulted in the capture of 2 poachers, 2 long fishing nets, 1 canoe, 16 snares and the destruction of 5 poachers camps.
Also with the Bathawk we managed to intercept 5 poachers that were on their way in to the Park and with the presence of the Bathawk they turned around and our teams on the ground made sure they did not return.
The Bathawk as also been very useful to locate species like Elephants and Lions as these species as we know are under threat in the continent, by knowing their locations we can also intensify the protection of those areas. Regarding the Elephants we also manage to monitor the Human-Animal conflict component, by identifing recent crossings of elephants into crops and we then deploy our human-animal conflict team on the ground to get them back into the Park.
This was a brief update on our activities during the last 2 months. We intend to increase the number of hours of aerial patrols as now we have most of the recently trained scouts on the ground, so we will definitely increase the efficiency of aerial and ground patrols.
Once again thank you very much for all your support."
-Head of Law Enforcement at PNG
BAT-HAWK REPORT – January to October 2017
TYPES OF FLIGHTS CONDUCTED:
- Law Enforcement;
- Wildlife Monitoring;
- Fire Mapping;
- Mapping of areas under deforestation;
- Aerial support to Rangers working on Human-Animal Conflict;
- Aerial support to identify potential tourism sites
LAW ENFORCEMENT RESULTS WITH THE SUPPORT OF THE BAT-HAWK:
- 7 Canoes apprehended - illegal fishing;
- 6 poachers arrested;
- 11 Illegal fires identified;
- Dismantling of a large group of poachers using dogs to hunt illegally;
- Critical aerial monitoring of areas where heavily armed poachers brutally attacked Rangers;
- Critical aerial monitoring of the most wanted group of poachers. This long term joint operation with rangers on the ground and intelligence gathering ended with the successful arrest of an extremely dangerous group of 5 poachers and known criminals in the community.
- 1 Poached elephant carcass identified, where rangers managed to collect the tusks before the poachers managed to retrieve them.
- 21 hours of flying time was dedicated monitoring flights:
- Map and monitor Human Encroachment into the Park
- Map water sources to support Patrols during the dry season;
- Mapping and survey of Vulture Nests;
- Monitoring of Elephant herds.
ADVANTAGES OF AERIAL PATROLS:
- Zero poaching camps identified – Due to regular aerial patrols, poachers are no longer setting up camps;
- Assistance in identifying areas in which to deploy ranger teams;
- The perfect machine to use for monitoring the Park's boundaries;
- Support in the monitoring of illegal logging and mining in the Buffer zone of the Park;
- Perfect for identifying Elephant herds and their preferred routes;
- Patrolling and monitoring of Lake Urema, Pungue and Urema rivers;
- Monitoring areas under pressure from Human Encroachment;
- Monitoring of areas under deforestation;
- Support in mitigating Human-Animal Conflict.