For African Parks, the most critical and foundational component for the long-term sustainability of any park is law enforcement. Providing safety and security to the park, surrounding communities and the broader region, is a pre-requisite for poverty alleviation, economic development and stabilising and increasing wildlife populations.
Majete has maintained a remarkable track record of not having lost a single rhino or elephant to poaching since their initial reintroductions in 2003 and 2006, respectively. Keeping these iconic species safe, together with the other general wildlife in the park, requires a robust law enforcement strategy and a strong team. The Majete law enforcement team is made up of highly trained and dedicated individuals, who receive ongoing training and development to keep ahead of the ever-changing challenges the park faces.
The primary tool in the fight against poaching is well-equipped, well-motivated and well-trained rangers. An established informer network also provides reliable and actionable intelligence. In 2019, Majete appointed a dedicated analyst and investigator within the Law Enforcement team, strengthening the reserve’s ability to respond to the changing poaching environment in a timely manner. This aspect of the Law Enforcement team will be expanded in coming years. In 2021, Majete further enhanced their law enforcement capabilities by introducing a dedicated K9 unit. The unit, comprising of dogs and their handlers, has been trained in tracking and apprehension by some of the world’s leading experts. They are a critical addition to the Majete law enforcement team.
Even though Majete is a relatively small reserve, it is still a difficult wilderness area to patrol, which is why community engagement plays such a significant role in law enforcement, particularly regarding providing tip-offs and intelligence.
By ensuring staff are well trained and equipped with all the necessary technology – from GPS units and radios to the latest software for planning and capturing important field data – the level of illegal hunting in the reserve has been greatly reduced. The Law Enforcement team, now expanded to 45 individuals, carried out over 4650 patrol man days in the past year, resulting in 27 arrests for wildlife crime and 46 prosecutions for illegal wildlife activities.
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