We take a look back at the highlights of 2023, a year that saw the beginning of exciting new projects, the addition of new K9s to our unit, and new opportunities to continue our work in wildlife conservation.
Establishment of the Mdluli K9 Anti-Poaching Unit
Our biggest project of the year was the collaboration with the Mdluli Safari Lodge, and their Conservation and Anti-Poaching NPC, and the Noctaum Poaching Prevention Academy to form a Mdluli K9 Anti-Poaching Unit.
The lodge is situated on the Mdluli Conservancy in the Maroela section of the Pretoriuskop area of Kruger National Park. It is founded on four core pillars, namely a partnership with the Mdluli Community, wildlife conservation and preservation, ecological design, and the storytelling guests will forever carry with them. It has the “authentic charm of Siswati tradition, and a deep-rooted commitment to conservation”. It was “developed with the purpose of sustainable uplifting the lives and infrastructure of the 45,000 strong Mdluli Community who live in villages adjacent to the Park who receive direct financial and indirect social and economic benefits from the lodge’s operations”.
Mdluli Safari Lodge © Mdluli Safari Lodge
We undertook our first deployment at the beginning of August and have had an ongoing presence at Mdluli since then. Our team members have been providing protection for the area’s wildlife, including the removal of an enormous number of snares. We have cleared large areas of bush, which is an ongoing battle, with these nasty wire contraptions being well-hidden along game paths and in bushes. It is rewarding work, with every snare removed saving an animal’s life.
Carl provides a demonstration of how snares work in this video:
When preparations are complete, we will have our Mdluli K9 unit in attendance, providing additional assistance to our team members on the ground.
This project is one of our toughest to date and an exciting challenge for our team. We are proud to have made a significant impact in the area in our short time there and look forward to continuing success there and making a real difference to the area. We are honoured to be undertaking this project, with thanks to Mdluli Safari Lodge and the Noctaum Poaching Prevention Academy.
Commencement of Mdluli Base Camp
Following the establishment of the Mdluli K9 Anti-Poaching Unit, we were assigned to build a Base Camp in the area to house our K9 Unit, handlers, and operators. This is long-term project will be completed in stages.
It began with an area of bush that was cleared to create the location of our camp. The area was flattened, with fencing trenches being dug out. We need heavy duty double fencing, being in a big 5 area, which will also serve as a K9 run and exercise area. We have recently completed the trenching and foundation work in preparation for the installation of the fence line, which will be erected soon.