Elephants in national parks in Zambia will be getting an extra measure of protection thanks to a body armor manufacturer in the Netherlands. While it might not be practical to up-armor the elephants directly, the company is providing body armor to the Game Rangers International (GRI), for their DNPW Special Anti-Poaching Unit (SAPU) in Kafue National Park.
“It didn’t seem right that the brave men and women of the anti-poaching unit were facing combat arms while protecting the park animals,” said Iwan Luiten, Marketing Manager at EnGarde body armor. “So we decided we could help level the playing field a bit.”
The armor EnGarde selected for the park rangers was their top line Rhino™ body armor, used by police and anti-terrorist teams throughout the world. The Rhino™ line is light and flexible, designed for extended use in hot climates. The armor is also equal to the firepower the rangers routinely face in the field. The Rhino™ armor is fitted with a combination of soft armor panels and hard armor inserts that can stop repeated hits from 7.62mm AK-47 rounds, a common weapon in the hands of poachers.
The wildlife and protected areas of Zambia and Africa are constantly under threat from poaching and encroachment. Trying to stem this tide are underfunded law enforcement agencies that are chronically short of supplies and resources. GRI’s Resource Protection Department (RPD) empowers government and community rangers to secure Zambia’s protected wildlife areas. GRI supports anti-poaching and fire fighting teams with essential equipment, supplies, and training.
The GRI has supported:
• 63,537 Total Man Patrol Days
• 894 Poachers and traffickers apprehended
• 476 Firearms confiscated
EnGarde sent twenty sets of Rhino™ carriers, color compatible with the terrain, and a supply of armor panels. The company will assess the effectiveness of the program on an ongoing basis.
Protecting the rangers on the frontline of conservation is one of several conservations efforts EnGarde has supported, including endangered wildlife projects.