Jennifer Smits, George Wilson and Lyn Wilson spent three weeks in South Africa from 24 September 2011 learning from South African experiences and techniques of wildlife management and tourism. They were joined in the second week by a delegation of Anangu Rangers from Angas Downs
We were privileged to participate in the recovery of a White Rhinoceros and calf which had been wounded by poachers attempting to remove its horn. The horn is used as a traditional (alternative) medicine in Vietnam and brings extremely high prices on the black market. Wildlife Vet Dr Cobus Raath led a team of veterinary volunteers and students to Nkomazi Game Reserve to catch and treat the Rhino. We helped with the procedure which was a great experience. Two weeks later the Rhino was recovering well. When the same poachers attempted to take another rhino, they were killed in a shootout with Police in neighbouring Swaziland.
Later in the day George Wilson had the opportunity to use his darting skills to treat a sick giraffe in the game reserve.
AWS also sampled the hospitality of the South African tourism industry by staying at the Ngala Safari camp near Kruger National Park – Orpen gate.. High-end tourism for wildlife viewing is certainly an industry that Australia could emulate and could be a key for tourism based Indigenous Community Development. See &Beyond website for their role in conversation and community projects in Africa and other developing nations.
During our stay, George Wilson was invited to participate in aerial spotting of wildlife over Kruger National Park. For more than two hours he flew at low level in a microlight aircraft with Park Ranger Steven Whitfield. Their mission was to find a a rhino that had been injured in a fire and and to count sable antelope calves as part of a program to monitor their reproductive success.