Two of Addo Elephant National Park’s rangers have been outfitted with specially-made bulletproof vests courtesy of a donation by a security company.
What’s so special about these vests, you ask? Well, it’s the rangers wearing them that are truly different! Banshee and Bandit are two five-year-old canine rangers that provide tracking support to their human companions within the park.
According to SANParks, the donation by Quemic, an integrated risk solutions company, is all thanks to a special relationship between its Western Cape regional ranger and Addo.
Nikki Haynes, son of the park’s former hospitality manager, was born inside the reserve, and was made aware of the need for the canine gear by his dad.
"Quemic already provides firearm training to SANParks’ Environmental Monitors,” says SANParks. “The company is also involved in anti-rhino poaching operations with private landowners and other nature conservation agencies.”
The park’s conservation manager, John Ardendorff, says his team is thankful for the donation, as it’ll go far to ensuring the dogs’ safety. “They are integral to our operations and today’s sponsorship ensures that they have the best protection when they’re in the field,” he says.
In addition to the vests, Quemic has also donated special doggy first-aid kits and a year’s supply of dog food.
“If one is personally involved in nature conservation, as we are through our business, you know the landscape and try to help wherever you can,” adds Haynes. “And for me, personally, this was just the perfect fit, given my history with and in Addo.”
Let’s hope the brave hounds put the vests to use protecting the majestic creatures of the iconic Eastern Cape nature reserve!