You may be aware of the increased intensity of rhino poaching and petty crime in the Hoedspruit area. In the past week alone there have been several incidents of rhino poaching and security breaches on neighbouring properties in the area and as many as 7 rhino have been shot. These poachers are no longer rag tag bush meat hunters but well organised and well-armed groups that in most cases consist of trained ex-soldiers and they are likely to be extremely dangerous when confronted.
The Board and Manager, together with our neighbours, are looking at ways in which we can be proactive on the reserve to protect our fauna and property from such unauthorised incursions of this nature and we are currently in the process of obtaining a quotation from a security company to act as a reaction force should we come across any spoor or have an incident. One of the first indications that there are unauthorised people on the farm is the presence of strange spoor – (all our staff wear specific and identifiable footwear). On finding such spoor the manager and his tracking staff will immediately take steps to follow the spoor whilst at the same time calling in professional assistance from specifically trained security backup personnel and air surveillance. Our staff are currently not authorised to apprehend intruders forcibly and we want to ensure that they are also protected in the event of an incident.
Unfortunately we are experiencing too many incidents where strange spoor has been picked up and time and resources spent in tracking the spoor only to find that the “intruder” was in fact shareholders and their guests out on a walk
For this reason and in the light of the dangers presented to our shareholders should they unwittingly walk into one of these groups whilst on foot, the Board has reluctantly resolved to ban walking on the reserve until further notice. I know that this may upset a few members but hopefully it won’t be too long before we can lift the restriction. Please bear with us.
Hopefully our Government agencies will get a grip on the situation and that life in the Lowveld can return to normal once more.
Jejane Private Nature Reserve