Sponsored bakkies work hard for rhino pro­tec­tion

The Witness - Wheels - - MOTORING -

VOLK­SWA­GEN and Nis­san have joined Izuzu in again sup­port­ing rangers against rhino poach­ers by spon­sor­ing Amarok and Pa­trol bakkies.

Volk­swa­gen has been part­ner­ing with the For­ever Wild Rhino Pro­tec­tion Ini­tia­tive since 2011, and in the past five years the Amaroks have as­sisted in the ar­rest of sus­pected poach­ers, the con­fis­ca­tion of firearms, the re­cov­ery of rhino horn, ex­tended pa­trols in game parks around the coun­try, rhino track­ing ex­er­cises and the re­lo­ca­tion of rhino for safety rea­sons and sup­port to aerial teams across the coun­try.

Volk­swa­gen Com­mer­cial Ve­hi­cles an­nounced last week its has re­newed its sup­port of this ini­tia­tive by ex­tend­ing the spon­sor­ship of six new Amarok dou- ble cabs for an­other year.

Nis­san has do­nated a Pa­trol 4x4 to the Pi­lanes­berg Na­tional Park’s rhino pro­tec­tion unit to help mon­i­tor large ar­eas of the 550 km² park.

The ve­hi­cle spon­sor­ship comes af­ter Nis­san SA’s re­cent spon­sor­ship of the ear-notch­ing of two white rhino in the Pi­lanes­berg Na­tional Park.

Ac­cept­ing the ve­hi­cle, Pi­lanes­berg Na­tional Park’s man­ager John­son Maoka said that man­power and mo­bil­ity are two key el­e­ments in the rhino pro­tec­tion ini­tia­tive.

“Be­cause of the park’s vast tracts of rugged ter­rain, we are de­lighted to take own­er­ship of the pow­er­ful Nis­san Pa­trol to ac­cess as many ar­eas as pos­si­ble on our rhino mon­i­tor­ing rou­tines,” said Maoka.

The Nis­san Pa­trol forms part of a fleet of ve­hi­cles in the rhino pro­tec­tion ini­tia­tive. Apart from ve­hi­cle pa­trols, the armed and cam­ou­flaged rhino pro­tec­tion team also use spe­cially trained dogs in their K9 unit to as­sist in de­tec­tion and track­ing ex­er­cises.

While rhino preser­va­tion ef­forts are pay­ing off at the Pi­lanes­berg Na­tional Park, the poach­ing threat is ev­er­p­re­sent. “We haven’t lost a rhino since Fe­bru­ary, but this doesn’t mean we can af­ford to drop our guard,” said Maoka. “Mon­i­tor­ing re­mains a round-the-clock ac­tiv­ity.” — WWR.

PHOTO: QUICKPIC

Volk­swa­gen has con­tin­ued its spon­sor­ship of six new Amarok dou­ble cabs for the fifth year to sup­port the For­ever Wild Rhino Pro­tec­tion Ini­tia­tive.

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