So you hate seeing rhinos and other wildlife getting poached? So do I. I can do something about it… but I need your help.
My plan: to attend an intensive military style anti-poaching course from 2 May to 4 June and become a fully qualified anti-poaching ranger… pretty simple eh?
What makes me different from other potential rangers?: I have a BEng degree in electronic engineering and computer science (final year project on infra-red alarm sensors), an MSc degree related to military decision making principles, and recently a PhD focused towards the optimal placement of facilities according to terrain and environmental factors. Have a look at my research background and publications here: http://204.academia.edu/AndriesHeyns/
Can you start connecting the dots? My plan is to apply my background in electronics, military decision making and geographic facility location optimisation to design some pretty damn amazing surveillance networks to aid in anti-poaching operations. These networks will combine equipment such as day/night surveillance cameras, acoustic (gunshot) sensors and other nifty electronics. Each poaching scenario is different – the terrain, environment, vegetation type, available/suitable devices… all of these vary with each problem and need to be considered in unique solution approaches. As a ranger on the ground I will acquire the practical knowledge and experience of what REALLY goes on and what really works… and also connect with the right people. This is crucial in order to design solutions that are truly effective.
Another reason for me to do the course? I’m just that type of guy. I’d much rather sweat like a pig out in nature for weeks on end in order to save a rhino than sit in a nice air-conditioned office staring at a screen all day long. I’m a volunteer fire fighter and I fight wildland fires for long hours in rugged terrain and scorching heat, for free. Why? Because I want to help, be outside, apply my skills and fitness to help with real-world problems. Even if I design the most amazing surveillance networks and get my face on the cover of Time magazine (concept pic included), I will STILL go out in the field and continue with ranger work. So the training is a LONG TERM investment.
I’m asking for your help to fund my anti-poaching course which costs R24000 (course content is listed below). The supplementary R6000 that makes up the total of R30000 will go towards equipment costs that aren’t included in the course costs – binoculars, tarps, backpacks, clothing, sleeping bag etc. Why do I need your backing? I’ve just finished my PhD that I was doing full-time for the past 4 years. University and life in general is expensive… so I’m in the red. The course starts 2 May and runs through to 4 June. Right now your financial contribution will go towards the anti-poaching course only (so in the least, you’ll sponsor the training of an anti-poaching ranger!), but will eventually contribute to my goal of designing efficient and innovative anti-poaching surveillance networks that have been designed from PRACTICAL knowledge and experience in the field, together with some innovative ideas and academically sound research plans.
The good news is that South Africa’s currency is very weak against others, so just one beer in Pounds/Dollars/Euros can make a sizable contribution in South African Rand! The pledge amounts converted to some other currencies are:
R100 – $7 … £5 … €6
R200 – $14 … £10 … €12
R500 – $33 … £24 … €30
R1000 – $67 … £48 … €60
R2000 – $133 … £96 … €120
Some recent publicity in local newspapers (click on images to enlarge):
Some extra info about the training academy for those of you who are interested:
The training academy’s facebook page can be found here https://www.facebook.com/TACTRAC-Combat-Tracking-171540939542290/
The course covers the following (FYI):
- Tactical Firearms
- Long Distance Rifle Craft
- Close Quarters Combat
- Arrest & Restraint Protocols
- Observation Post Protocols
- Vehicle Searching
- Crime Scene Protocols
- Field craft
- Survival craft
- Dangerous Game Approaches
- Physical Fitness Training
- First Aid Level 1
- PSIRA Security Gradings