PILANESBERG NATIONAL PARK, South Africa – The South African black and white rhino population needs all the help it can get against the threat of wildlife poaching. Aware of the plight of these endangered species, Nissan South Africa today donated a Nissan Patrol 4×4 to the Pilansberg National Park’s rhino protection unit to help monitor large areas of the 550km² park.
The vehicle sponsorship comes after Nissan SA’s recent sponsorship of the ear notching of two white rhino in the Pilansberg National Park.
Nissan SA executives attended the notching event, which involves the capture, marking and collection of a DNA sample from the rhino to assist in its tracking, monitoring and identification.
The Nissan representatives were so impressed that the company opted to go a step further to help on-going anti-poaching efforts to protect these animals.
“Our involvement with the protection of one of South Africa’s most amazing wildlife species speaks to our global environmental philosophy—a symbiosis of people, vehicles and nature,” said Jim Dando, Nissan SA’s director of sales and operations for Sub-Saharan Africa.
“We trust that the Nissan Patrol’s tough offroad capability will help help the protection officers combat the scourge of poaching in the Pilanesberg National Park and play a role in saving these majestic animals,” continued Dando.
Accepting the vehicle, Pilanesberg National Park’s manager Johnson Maoka said that manpower and mobility were two key elements in the rhino protection initiative.
“Because of the Park’s vast tracts of rugged terrain, we are delighted to take ownership of the powerful Nissan Patrol to access as many areas as possible on our rhino monitoring routines,” said Maoka.
“The Nissan Patrol’s size, power and commanding visual presence – features of the very species it will play a role in protecting – will motivate our anti-poaching unit and send a strong message to poachers that we will not give up on efforts to stop them.”
The Nissan Patrol forms part of a fleet of vehicles in the rhino protection initiative. Apart from vehicle patrols, the armed and camouflaged rhino protection team also uses specially trained dogs in its K9 unit to assist in detection and tracking exercises.
While rhino preservation efforts are paying off at Pilanesberg National Park, the poaching threat is ever-present.
“We haven’t lost a rhino since February 2016 but this doesn’t mean we can afford to drop our guard,” says Maoka. “Monitoring remains a round-the-clock activity.”