Voluntary Ezemvelo Honorary Officers have formed a specialised Airwing Unit in KwaZulu Natal based in the Pietermaritzburg area. The unit comprises of Honorary Officers who do recreational flying. The Airwing gives the pilots an opportunity to do this flying within a conservation frame work. The aircraft are privately owned andmaintained by volunteers of the unit who fly at their own expense.

Their main objectives are to conduct aerial surveillance and observation missions to assist Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife and partner conservation organisations to collect data for conservation purposes as well as back-up in illegal wildlife activities.
Data collected during these missions will include setting up a basic GIS database to log all flights and record information collected such as illegal wildlife activities, local animal locations, dog pack locations and delineation of vegetation and any otherdata of interest making use of aerial photographs.
This data will be used in intelligence led wildlife law enforcement and anti-poaching operations, feeding information to the Honorary Officer Groups on the ground, who can use this information for tactical planning and sting operations. At crime scenes the unit can conduct aerial surveillance for gathering evidence and verification of the scale of the incident. During planned sting operations from ground based intelligence the Airwing could be “the eyes in the sky” for Honorary Officers and Law Enforcement contributing to successful arrests and convictions.

Wildlife and natural resources monitoring used for scientific research, protection, compiling conservation management plans and wildlife rescue through the monitoring of rare species, vegetation and coastal mapping to determine the type of vegetation, the spread of alien invasive plants and potential fire risk. The Airwing Unit remains under the direct control and for use of Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife Honorary Officer Corps.

Since this Unit was launched some months ago, it has been successful in responding to various requests for assistance from Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, private game reserves and SAPS.

For this unit to be optimally utilised financial assistance would be welcomed in order to purchase fuel and equipment and to cover the cost of landing fees.. Businesses and the public can make donations directly into the Airwing Honorary Officers Group banking account. For further information please e-mail horegion@telkomsa.net