The Kasonso Anti-Poaching Unit (KAPU) comprises a dedicated team of trained, well-equipped scouts, as well as vehicles, communication equipment and aircraft, which includes a Bat Hawk light aircraft and an R44 helicopter. Aerial patrols are conducted daily throughout the Kasonso Busanga GMA in search of fires, snares, poachers and any other human activity. The Bat Hawk plays a vital role in aerial surveillance and reports any signs of human activity to headquarters and if necessary, a rapid response team is mobilized and deployed by helicopter. This operation has proven very effective in catching many poachers and illegal harvesters as well as deploying scouts in remote areas inaccessible by road. The helicopter plays a pivotal role in identifying, then landing and removing snares, deploying and picking up scouts and deterring poachers and other illegal elements. Since its formation in mid-2016, KAPU has been responsible for catching over 110 poachers and removing over 700 snares.
We have also confiscated over 25 firearms, including two AK 47 assault rifles, and destroyed numerous active poaching camps and related poaching paraphernalia. The unit has also been instrumental in stemming the tide of elephant poaching in the Kasonso Busanga, and we have noticed a marked decline in the number of elephant poachers coming into the area, and an increase in the movement of the elephant herds, throughout the GMA. Numerous animals have been released from snares not only by scouts, but also by other members of the Ntengu Safaris team. Our patrols also serve as a vital component of our ongoing wildlife monitoring programme in the Kasonso Busanga, each scout team is equipped with a device, which has a software installed that allows for the logging of all wildlife and poaching related sightings and occurrences, thus assisting us with monitoring the state of the wildlife, and documenting the distribution and recovery of all wildlife species.