Peace Parks Foundations (PPF) approached Dyck Advisory Group (DAG) to assist in Counter Poaching Operations throughout their reserves in Mozambique, namely; Limpopo National Park (1 000 000 ha), Zinave National Park (400 000 ha), Banhine National Park (800 000 ha) and Maputo Special Reserve (122 000 ha).
A Concept of early detection and rapid reaction was established by DAG in the Greater Lebombo region. To ensure proper command and control, DAG produced a highly effective operations centre with a clear radio link connection and live personnel tracking. Experienced managers and highly qualified ranger instructors were placed in theatre of operations to not only run the operation but train/retrain scouts and rangers.
PPF has therefore approached DAG to establish a similar operation in their national parks. Focusing on Limpopo National Park while training scouts and setting up operation centres in all other reserves. This is currently underway.
Limpopo National Park
Limpopo National Park (LNP) comprises one third of the Greater Limpopo Trans frontier Park (GLTP), which links LNP in Mozambique with Kruger National Park in South Africa and Gonarezhou National Park (GNP) in Zimbabwe. This area brings together some of the most well-established wildlife area in Southern Africa. LNP has established an IPZ where DAGs main Counter Poaching efforts will be focused.
DAG in Limpopo National Park
DAG has been directly involved assisting LNP in Counter Poaching Operations since January 2018. Col. Dyck has conducted management visits to LNP on a number of occasions to evaluate, advise and implement workable and effective Counter Poaching structures.
A concept of Early Detection and Rapid reaction operations was therefore established in Limpopo National Park. This was placed in support of Peace Parks Foundation, to ensure proper command and control, DAG produced an Operations Centre with radio links, park-wide on a high-tech VHF system, that allows tracking of each individual radio and thus allows the Program Manager, or his Operations Room Manager to vector our reaction groups onto any potential incursion or target.
Operation Centre in Limpopo National Park
Furthermore, a mobile base camp was established in LNP to fully support its new 30-man reaction force. This force was equipped and armed for extended ground operations in the park. The whole operation is commanded and run by the DAGCT team.
Such a force was of little use if it was unable to react swiftly, and accordingly. DAG placed two GEOS funded helicopters (R 44 with their own pilots) into the operation from May 2018, thus producing instant changes in poacher activity. The choppers are based at LNP at this time and proposed to operate in the area going forward.
The addition of the Helicopters were an absolute game changer and indications are that all poaching routes had been disrupted. The flexibility of the rapid deployment of 3-man reconnaissance groups being dropped up to 50 kilometres away from base has again stopped the loss of elephant and lion in the park. Of course, such changes in modus operandi by poaching gangs must be met by our own initiatives and plans to be pro-active.