SANParks brought in a security team for Table Mountain that will patrol air, land, and sea this festive season to catch all the bad guys in action, or before they even act!
Table Mountain, South Africa (03 December 2021) – As part of its efforts to tighten up safety and security at Table Mountain National Park (TMNP), South African National Parks (SANParks) inducted the first of its kind Sea, Air and Mountain (SEAM) Special Operations Ranger team at a pass-out parade in Cape Town on Friday 3 December 2021.
The team consists of a re-established K9 unit with six fully trained dogs; a specialised operations centre which will support the area integrity management of TMNP.
“This group will cover multiple functions which includes visitor safety, search and rescue for lost person and illicit wildlife crime such as abalone poaching.”
In the picturesque setting of Newlands Forest, delegates from SANParks, funders, Honorary Rangers, TMNP Park Forum members, and representatives from US Fisheries and Wildlife Services, gathered to honour the SEAM Special Operations Rangers and K9 unit at the pass out parade, as they embark on their improved mission to combat crime within TMNP.
SANParks Acting CEO, Dumisani Dlamini said, the SEAM Special Operations Rangers is the first of this type of concept envisaged by SANParks and possibly the first team of its kind for protected areas in Africa.
“As a custodian of wildlife and its conservation, we warmly welcome this step as it will provide the much needed boost to the current team of ranger corps and should be seen as a necessary measure to top-up on our anti-poaching and the fight against crime within the Table Mountain National Park.”
The SEAM Special Operations Rangers are part of the Rangers that are currently in service within TMNP said Dlamini.
“They are all volunteers drawn from the ranger corps and willingly participated in the pre-selection, selection and training which took place over the last 3 months.”
According to Dlamini, the selection process entailed a tough mental and physical process for each candidate. The training curriculum prepared the SEAM candidates and K9 unit to be integrated into specialised operations with deployment capabilities in all weather conditions.
He said the deployment will be intelligence-driven with visible policing over the festive season to cover some of the TMNPs tourism and recreational hot spots.
“Due to the vast area to be safe guarded, the proximity of the City and the non-gated nature of the Park, the programme is reliant on close cooperation and interaction with other law enforcement agencies and community safety forums for joint pooling of resources and sharing of information.”
Dlamini said as part of this new development, an Operations Centre has also been established… “the centre will play a major role in all activities of the SEAM Team within the park in collaboration with the City of Cape Town Law Enforcement, the Table Mountain Aerial Cable Way, South African Police Services and Neighbourhood Watch groups.”
“This will aid the efficient collaboration of resources, as well as providing a professional communication solution required to achieve zero loss of life from poaching activity, both animal and human as well as safety for our visitors.”
“We are proud of the newly trained SEAM Special Ranger Team and K9 unit. We would like to wish them well in their operations over the festive season and call upon all the visitors to cooperate with this team for the benefit of everyone,” concluded Dlamini.