Hytera radios support park rangers in Zimbabwe
Hytera Communications has partnered with the Zimbabwe Parks & Wildlife Management Authority (ZimParks) to improve the safety of rangers working across the latter’s wildlife parks and reduce poaching activities, by equipping the rangers with advanced digital mobile radios (DMR) and dispatching software.
As a government agency for wildlife conservation, ZimParks manages approximately five million hectares of land. From 2020 to 2021, widespread poaching was seen in the parks as a result of a pandemic-impaired local economy and an absence of tourists in the parks. Wildlife–human conflicts were also on the increase, causing more than 50 injuries and 60 deaths in 2020, according to ZimParks’ records.
“We have rangers who are actually doing their jobs very effectively on the ground — they are our boots on the ground — but they are facing a lot of challenges as they do their work,” said Dr Fulton Mangwanya, Director General of ZimParks. “The poachers want to kill them. The same animals they are protecting also want to kill and injure them.
“So the best way out, for us to actually deal with the first line of defence effectively, is to come up with effective communication, which is radio communication, given that GSM is not covering all the parks in most cases.”
To better equip rangers with the essential tools they need to cope with the situation, ZimParks teamed up with Hytera to build a communication and dispatch system that allows the staff to be mobilised effectively and efficiently across the sprawling parks. The cooperation has also brought Hytera digital two-way radios to the rangers and provided them with the accessibility for park-wide radio communication.
“The remoteness of the area and absence of present-day cellphone signal coverage, coupled with … high chances of encountering armed and dangerous wildlife criminals as well as dangerous animals, reptiles and insects, make our work all the more challenging,” said Theressa Makunike, one of ZimParks’ rangers. “However, my training as well as reliable Hytera radio communication coverage in the area give me the confidence to engage the poachers, and even the excessive heat.”
According to Mangwanya, Hytera’s radio communication solution has been very effective in terms of helping to protect wildlife and supporting law enforcement. The result is that Zimbabwe recorded a decline in wildlife poaching in 2022, with a total of 36 key wildlife animals being poached in 2022, down from 42 in 2021.
“We are committed to supporting ZimParks’ efforts to tackle poaching and enhance the safety of rangers,” said Mark Zheng, Director of Hytera Southern Africa. “Wildlife conservation is crucial to a sustainable future and we are glad that our radios are making contributions to this. We wish ZimParks all the best in their efforts to protect wild animals and will continue to work with them closely.”
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