ARCC is working to combine the efforts and facilities of projects and organisations within the Eastern Cape of South Africa to maximise their impact for the protection and conservation of rhino. Current figures show that on average more than two rhino are killed per day by poachers in SA, with figures for the Eastern Cape rising dramatically so far this year compared to last. The strategy is to secure a rhino stronghold in the Eastern Cape through the implementation and co-ordination of ARCC’s projects.
HOW WE ARE HELPING
ARCC is working to strengthen the airwing component of the local Anti-Poaching effort by increasing “eyes in the sky” for a number of rhino-holding reserves. The consistent presence of small planes in the air over game reserves offers a significant deterrent to potential poachers, improves patrols and enables faster incident response. The “Bantum” plane, a light sport aircraft, is commonly used for this purpose due to low fuel consumption, cheap running costs and the ability to fly low and slow. This capacity also makes it ideal for ecological monitoring of small game reserves, including game counts and vegetation surveys.
The ARCC small airfield is surrounded by a number of private and provincial reserves that all pour funds, manpower and equipment into protecting the rhino they take care of. However, protection is becoming increasingly expensive and not all reserves can meet the huge responsibilities of keeping these iconic animals safe. The ARCC plane can provide monitoring and patrol flights to more than 40,000 hectares of rhino reserves in the Eastern Cape area.
The ARCC plane will be piloted initially by a member of the local community, Siseko Miyinje. Siseko was born and raised on a farm, now a Wildlife Reserve in the Eastern Cape. He is the 4th generation of Xhosa family still living and working on the Reserve. Through hard work and determination Siseko recently qualified as commercial fixed wing pilot and was given the opportunity to combine his two passions: conservation and flying.
Working in Partnership
Helping Rhinos has provided funding that will enable Siseko to build up his flight hours and experience while also contributing to the protection of threatened wildlife species, including the rhino. It is standard practice to log 500 hours before a pilot can be considered for commercial positions. The sustainable model for the ARCC aviation programme recognizes this and aims to offer the career opportunity Siseko has been given to other inspired and dedicated members of the surrounding communities. With additional financial support for the "Eyes in the Sky" programme, that also builds a fund for the costs of training future young pilots like Siseko, to get their private license, this can be achieved.
Visit our 'Eyes in the Sky' page to read more about Siseko and how you can help.
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