Aquila Game Reserve has cultivated a wildlife conservation and education ethos. The Animal Rescue & Conservation Centre was established for this very reason.
Aquila Rehabilitation and Conservation Centre
ARC (Aquila Rehabilitation & Conservation Centre) is situated on a separate piece of land directly opposite the main entrance of Aquila Private Game Reserve. Aquila has donated the stretch of land to ARC and has also invested over R1 million building a large outdoor sanctuary comprising of several 1 hectare fenced camps where these once doomed “canned lions” can live out the remainder of their lives.
ARC is also home to rescued leopard and Cheetahs that will become part of a cheetah breeding programme.
ARC is a non-profit section 21 company (No 2004/011009/08) and guests visiting Aquila are invited to visit the Centre free of charge.
Aquila Safari Lodge, Cape Town
Aquila Safari Lodge, Cape Town supports environmentally friendly tourism. Because of many hours of abundant sunshine in the beautiful Cape Karoo, Aquila is a perfect site for the use of solar energy.
Saving Private Rhino
The ‘Saving Private Rhino’ initiative has been established to ensure the future conservation of Africa’s rhino and wildlife heritage by providing the most comprehensive integrated anti-poaching solution available to every private game reserve in Africa that needs assistance defending its wildlife.
In August 2011 the Aquila Private Game Reserve was hit by a horrific poaching incident that saw three rhinos attacked. It is believed that Aquila’s anti-poaching teams interrupted the poachers; as of the three rhino darted one was left unharmed and after rapid response from lodge staff, an antidote to traqualisers was administered and she has recovered fully. Another rhino was found literally butchered and left to bleed to death in the veld while the third Rhino, named Absa, was left fighting for his life after having him main horn cut off and an attempt to remove the second horn. Absa was given the best treatment available but after a 6 day ordeal he sadly succumbed to his gruesome injuries.
This shocking tragedy has led to the establishment of the ‘Saving Private Rhino Initiative’.
Where are we in the fight to save Rhino?
Rhinos are seriously threatened with extinction in the wild. Rhinos are poached for their horns, which are sold to Asian consumers. Rhino horn is used for various medicinal and ornamental purposes and this use is deeply entrenched in several Eastern cultures and traditions.
The rhino poaching crisis has put the future of rhino in the balance. Not only are we losing rhino to poachers but the Private rhino owners are being forced to sell their rhino as they are finding the increasing expensive to look after their animals unaffordable. The South African Army have been deployed into the Kruger National Park to protect rhino, although this is a fabulous initiative it has made the smaller Private Reserves soft targets.
This is why Saving Private Rhino has been set up to not only help Aquila but all private Reserves and rhino owners that cannot afford the training, equipment and staff to protect their rhino. Our training programmes are free to rangers and owners and all initiatives are embarked upon with the intention of sharing knowledge and resources with all the Private Reserves who are being attacked at a rate of literally one a day..
There are currently around 18 000 white rhino and just under 2000 black rhino in South Africa… at this rate it is expected that rhino will be extinct within 10 years. However we believe it will be much sooner as these figures do not include rhino that die of natural causes or those that are killed by hunting reserves that can no longer afford to keep their doors open because of the moratorium on rhino hunting.
Time is of the essence……
- We believe that the solution must be far reaching, comprehensive and able to be implemented immediately.
- Anti poaching training centre,
- Awareness centre,
- Rehabilitation facilities at the Awearness Centre for injured rhino that lived through the attack
- Communications on and around the Reserve
Aquila Private Game Reserve is perfectly positioned to raise awareness for plight of the Rhino, as the busiest game reserve in Southern Africa, Aquila hosts international visitors as well as corporate and local guests. Celebrities that visit the Reserve can also be utilized were possible to further the cause. Such as Paris Hilton and MC Hammer who was recently on the Oprah show after winning Americas top social media award and who campaigned after the rhino was killed at Aquila.
Our plan is to build AN INFORMATION CENTRE on the land directly opposite the Aquila entrance currently home to our conservation project called ARC. The centre will become part of the tour of Aquila and will give us the opportunity to share information on projects running at Aquila including the ongoing social upliftment of the area and its peoples, the renewable energy project, conservation and breeding programmes currently at ARC and most importantly we will be able to share our story first hand with guests about the horror of Rhino poaching and the initiatives we are taking to fight the war against poachers.
The interpretation centre will have allow us to speak to the guest on a one to one basis, share information and show a short video about the rhino poaching disaster Africa is facing. There will be an opportunity to visit one to the containers that was donated to the Saving Private Rhino Initiative which will house a more graphic display including video footage of the rhino that were poached on Aquila in August 2011.
We would also like to create a memorial for fallen rhino and believe that this will have an impact on visitors and will allow them to see the extent of the problem.
Training Facility (ALREADY IN OPERATION FROM A TEMPORARY VENUE)
Currently operating from a temporary facility we are in the process of setting up a permanent training facility for any ranger who has rhino in their care. The training will continue to be free to Private Game Reserves and these costs will be covered from fundraising efforts done via Saving Private Rhino.
Training is the key to protecting Africa’s rhino and we have spared no expense to get the most accomplished and experienced trainers. Our aim is to give rangers and rhino owners the knowledge on how to protect their animals and go back to their reserves and train the rest of the staff on the lodges so that even the chef will be aware of what to look out for.
Because the poaching incidents are moving to the smaller game reserves, the poachers are darting rather than shooting the rhino as they are usually to close to the lodge areas and any loud noises would be detected quickly. This practice has led to rhino dying painfully in the veld. If the rhino are found in time an antidote to the tranquilizer can be given and there may be a chance for the rhino to be kept alive and its injuries treated.
For any rhino needing special care, we would like to build a rehabilitation centre to look after these animals. We would also like to house young orphaned rhino until they can be released safely into the wild.
Communication on and arounf the resereve
Communication with the anit-poaching teams, the security headquarters and the police if need be is imperative. Communication between team in the field and the control room are vital and could be life saving should any suspect be spotted in the veld and back up is needed. In the event we need to apprehend suspects we would also need to communicate with the South African Police in the area to coordinate arrests. Currently the signal on the Reserve is very weak and only works in particular places. We cannot afford to be out of range at anytime when on patrols.
We have identified a need for
- Mobile radios hand held and car / quad bike mounted (20 units)
- A signal repeater for the Reserve to boost the signal (I ask you to assist here with your expertise to advise what is needed to boost the signal)
- ADSL communication on the Reserve to enable us to have remote access to security cameras in the veld from the control room.
We thank you for your efforts and support of Saving Private Rhino Initiative. Only with support and awareness will we win the war against Rhino poachers and the needless murder of our African heritage.
Please do not hesitate to contact me should you require any additional information and we look forward to having you as part of our initiative for the future.