Goodyear Wranglers will be used by rangers on the Forever Wild Rhino Protection Initiative team following the tyre manufacturer's sponsorship of the rugged, high-performance 4x4 tyres to help give the anti-poaching teams an advantage when patrolling the country's nature reserves.
The highly effective Forever Wild Initiative was given a boost in June 2011 through the sponsorship of six Volkswagen Amarok bakkies from Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles. The vehicles were allocated to various reserves and anti-poaching units across the country, each managed by the Forever Wild head office team. This contract was renewed in 2012 and 2013, with Goodyear coming on board for a second year. Rangers requested Wranglers
"The rangers made a specific request to have Goodyear Wranglers fitted to the vehicles," said the Wilderness Foundation's conservation director, Matthew Norval. "This is the third year that VW has sponsored Amarok vehicles for our Forever Wild Initiative and when the new vehicles came in, they were fitted with other tyres. Our rangers asked if Goodyear could sponsor the Wranglers again as they have proven that the tyres offer better traction and are much more robust than the other tyres we've tried."
Rodney Visser, former head of the SAPS Organised Crime Unit, is one of the leaders in the fight against poaching in the country and his team is one of those supported by the Forever Wild Initiative. He is positive about the impact that the initiative has had over the last few years. "In 2012, the teams supported by the Forever Wild Initiative were involved in the arrest of over 30 suspected poachers, hundreds of extended patrols in parks around the country, several rhino notching exercises, the translocation of a number of rhino for safety reasons, and many public awareness events."
Although specific details of all of the anti-poaching activities cannot be shared in a public forum, the Wilderness Foundation and the members of its Forever Wild teams are pleased with the numerous successes throughout the year, and hope to continue this success in 2013.