The Zululand Anti-Poaching Wing (ZAP-Wing) is a vital anti-poaching intervention and has contributed to numerous arrests and disruptions of poaching gangs.

Established in 2012, ZAP-Wing is a public-private partnership between Project Rhino & Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife. It provides daily helicopter reaction support and fixed-wing aerial surveillance to 26 state & private game reserves (+300,000ha) and to rhino security operations in northern KZN. 3 turbine helicopters are currently funded by KZN Provincial Government.

ZAP-Wing undertakes daily aerial patrols, assists rangers and APU teams in pursuit of poaching gangs, transports APU teams, SAPS and even K9 units into remote areas, investigates suspicious vehicles, notifies game reserves of unusual activities around their boundaries and helps to locate missing rhinos in difficult terrain. Its value also extends to other wildlife at risk of poaching, not just rhino. Benefit is also being seen from joint operations with law enforcement agencies.

Project Rhino is responsible for:

  • The operating costs of the BushCat aircraft & pilot.
  • Hluhluwe Airfield Anti-Poaching Ops Centre: A fully equipped, dedicated airfield base for ZAP-Wing and related state & private anti-poaching activities. It is also used as the Zululand command centre for Operation Rhino 7 – the national SAPS anti-poaching programme.

ZAP-Wing has been recognised at a national level for its proactive approach and numerous successes in preventing rhino poaching incidents.