The South African National Parks (SANParks) has tightened security at the Table Mountain National Park (TMNP) ahead of the festive season.
This after it inducted the Sea, Air and Mountain (SEAM) Special Operations Ranger team at a pass-out parade in Cape Town on Friday.
The team consists of a re-established K9 unit with six fully trained dogs; a specialised operations centre that will support the area integrity management of 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,” said Dlamini.
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 three months.”
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 safeguarded, 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.”
This in an effort to encourage local tourism amid travel bans from countries such as Canada, United States, UAE, Morocco, Japan, Philippines, Seychelles and Saudi Arabia, to name a few, due to the recently discovered Omicron variant.