In South Africa alone, three rhino are killed a day; game, poultry and livestock are targeted; and (in 2016) 446 humans were brutally assaulted in their homes, on their farms. This year, AfriForum reported that 30 farm attacks were recorded in the first two weeks of February, resulting in 11 heartless murders.
As is the case in any security breach, perpetrators will always look for a soft target; criminals always follow the path of least resistance. Safeguarding against poaching and attacks is no easy feat, and expert assistance should be employed to tighten defences and prevent a breach.
“Our management team enjoys a deep, personal appreciation for the rich history of South Africa’s wildlife and agricultural environment,” says Jacqueline Condon, the Managing Director at Apache Security Services. “Poaching and violent farm attacks continue to plague our country, and this must be stopped.”
The starting point of any good farm protection strategy is a security audit. It is fundamental to identify the holes in the defences, and implement targeted strategies to ensure that no shortfalls remain. These shortfalls will be exploited – and the results could be catastrophic.
Condon believes that the answer lies in deploying specialist Farm Security Units, comprising expert ‘foot soldiers’ and anti-poaching members, to assist in combatting and preventing these problems. “There are six distinct ways for farmers, lodges and game farms to protect their investments, their livelihoods and their lives,” confirms Condon.
“Start with operatives that live onsite in camps or other accommodation. Surveillance should be conducted by air (with drones and thermal imaging), by land (with operatives patrolling on foot, in vehicles and on four-wheelers), and with frequent perimeter inspections. Placing of traps and bush cameras aids in tracking, while 24-hour contact and armed response are essential. Security providers should consult with local law enforcement, join community forums and provide farmer and family escorts when necessary. Vetting of farm staff is a crucial step in thwarting the spread of inside information.”
Due to the size of agricultural and wildlife properties, managing risks and maintaining security can pose a challenge. While awareness of one’s surroundings, personal protection skills and caution in suspicious circumstances contribute to safety, there is no substitute for professional, armed and immediate assistance when the need arises.
“Farm security cannot be taken lightly and requires dedicated commitment from the practitioners putting their lives on the line to provide a service,” concludes Condon. “It is essential that these teams are equipped with state-of-the-art surveillance equipment, and are armed with firearms and ammunition specifically required to defend this unique environment.”