Cape Town – More than 100 tourism monitors will be appointed to safeguard the Table Mountain National Park, SA National Parks (SANParks) managing executive Property Mokoena said.
Delivering the keynote address at SANParks’ World Ranger Day event at Mouille Point yesterday, Mokoena said the Cape had borne the brunt of poaching and muggings, some of which resulted in murder.
“In an effort to address some of the challenges we are faced with, the Cape region is in the process of appointing 120 tourism monitors, which will be deployed into different functional areas, of which safety is one of the priorities.
"The programme is funded by the National Department of Tourism and these monitors will be based in all Cape region parks, including Table Mountain National Park,” said Mokoena.
World Ranger Day commemorates rangers killed or injured in the line of duty, and celebrates the work rangers do to protect the world’s natural and cultural treasures.
Mokoena said the programme would prepare young people to grow within SANParks, while learning new skills that would equip them for the formal job market.
He said the efforts would be based on partnerships with role-players such as the police, the SA Navy, the city’s law enforcement, CapeNature, neighbourhood watch groups and community outreach organisations such as Take Back our Mountain and Table
Senior section ranger Justin
Buchmann said Table Mountain National Park covered about 25 000 hectares and stretched from Cape Point to Signal Hill.
Field ranger Thandeka Mabena, 25, has been a part of SANParks since 2017 and said the day was a great way to acknowledge not just the rangers conserving resources, but rangers who had come before and died in the line of duty.
According to the International Ranger Federation, at least 1 000 rangers had fallen in the line of duty.
Over the past year, 149 rangers across the globe were killed, of whom at least 54 were from Africa, the report states.Conservation organisation Nkombe Rhino has members deployed in the bushveld in the Greater Kruger National Park biosphere, working to combat poaching.
Nkombe Rhino’s founder, Joe
Pietersen: “These rangers are the front line of defence when it comes to wildlife crime. Circumstances in the field are harsh, with extremely long hours, separation from families, threats from syndicates, low morale and high stress.
“They’re the ones on the ground, fighting tirelessly for the next generations to have the opportunity to view the rhinoceros, the elephant and the lion where they belong - in the wild.”