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Founders

Gary Stone came to South Africa from Australia in 2011 after a career in the Australian Army and as a Park Ranger to help in the counter poaching fight. Here he met and married Anna Harris a beautiful, professional and strong South African woman who was heavily involved in orphan and gender equality development programs in her own right.

In 2013, Gary and Anna established a company called Environmental Security Division (ESD) in response to a growing international need to combat animal poaching and in 2014 established RhinoGuard a Charitable Trust (Non-Profit Organisation), and Public Benefit Organisation. RhinoGuard is administered by ESD, who also cover ancillary expenses such as vehicle costs, rent, power and water etc. The focus of RhinoGuard is to utilise donor funding as a mechanism to be able to provide rhino counter poaching services to private rhino owners in South Africa, who would otherwise not be able to afford protection for their rhinos.

Current Situation

Even though ESD charges for its Anti-Poaching Unit (APU) services, when it comes to rhino protection ESD uses a particularly poor business model and provides cost or below cost services to the private rhino owners to fit in with the ethos of RhinoGuard. This has now caused two specific challenges:

  1. Gary and Anna have input their own money from other sources to ESD to subsidise rhino protection, thereby placing themselves in debt and this money has now run dry.
  1. A substantial funds deficit has now appeared in order to provide appropriate equipment and training in regard to advanced firearms training for ESD APU operators.

Training Steps

A secondary objective of ESD/RhinoGuard when established was to provide meaningful employment and training to people in impoverished rural areas, a goal which has been achieved to a small extent. However, what this has meant is that ESD has been required to train individuals from scratch and not draw on people with pre-existing qualifications, thereby significantly increasing training costs. Formalised training which is outsourced to accredited training providers and paid for under the normal operating budget of ESD is:

  1. Security Training to meet the Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority (PSIRA) registration requirements. Approximately R4 800.00 per person.
  1. Firearms Training for Business Purposes, to enable employees to obtain a South African Police Service (SAPS) Firearms Competency (Permit to carry and use a firearm). Currently R5 200.00 per person.
  1. First Aid Level 2. Currently R1640.00 per person.

ESD is required to conduct all other tactical training itself to bridge the knowledge gaps. The most intense and expensive of this training is proving to be the advanced firearms training. Essentially once an ESD/RhinoGuard operator has his SAPS Firearms Competency, it really equates to having a Learners Drivers Permit, so they need much more training and experience. Key Advanced Firearms Training subjects that ESD provides so that its APU operators can safely and effectively perform their jobs are:

  1. Firearm Safety Principles. Additional safe weapon handling skills above and beyond that taught for achieving a competency standard. This also includes specific legal rules of engagement and escalation of force.
  1. ESD Standard Weapons. Advanced training on operating, maintaining and understanding the standard ESD weapons which consist of Pepper Pistols (non-lethal), 12 gauge pump action shotguns, AK-47 derivatives and 9mm Self Loading Handguns. Includes static range practices with all firearms.
  1. Tactical Shooting / Training. This is the most intense and expensive component of the training and consists of:
    1. Dry handling drills.
    2. Marksmanship principles and practice starting with air rifles and proceeding to full bore ammunition with the AK-47s.
    3. Snap, sneaker and rapid engagement shooting from different positions. Starting with airsoft AK-47s (purely to reduce costs) then proceeding to full bore ammunition.
    4. Team fire and manoeuvre drills where team members shoot past each other while one is moving. High risk and progressively staged training moving from dry drills, to using airsoft rifles, then on to full bore live ammunition. At no stage will trainees progress to the next stage until they are assessed as competent in the current stage. For live firing ballistic helmets and vests must be worn by shooters and safety staff as additional safety precautions.
    5. Tactical: Training, Tracking, Interception, Apprehension, Evidence Retention, Scene Investigation & Protection as well as many other skills required to complete and join our APU’s.

Help Us Train the Guards

ESD requires approximately R258 185.00 (AUD $26 869.31, USD $21 718.52) to fully equip and train the current and future APU operators as shown in the table below. Under the current financial conditions, ESD would take several years to acquire all of the required equipment to ensure that its employees are adequately trained to enable them to protect themselves, their team mates and the rhinos.

Therefore, we have taken the decision to attempt to raise some money to speed up the training process to ensure that our APUs and rhinos remain safe.

Cost Table

SPA PR900 air rifle 4.5 mm x 4: R 14,400.0033
* Teach marksmanship principles at less cost than full bore ammunition

Kalashnikov AK47 12916 Premium AEG Blowback Airsoft Rifle x 4: R 28,400.00
* Teach team shooting on move before moving to live ammunition

Level IIIA High cut FAST Ballistic Helmet (2 x S, 3 x M, 1 x L) x 6: R 18,000.00
* For live fire manoeuvre shooting

MOLLE Tactical Ballistic Vest, Level III, (2 x S, 2 x M, 1 x L, 1 x XL) x 6: R 41,040.00
* For live fire manoeuvre shooting

AK Quick Magazine loader, NCSTAR AAKLA x 3: R 2,295.00
* Assist rapid reloading of AK magazines

AK Stripper Clips, NCSTAR AAKC x 2: R 1,170.00
* Assist rapid reloading of AK magazines

AK front Sight Adjustment tool, NCSTAR TAK x 2: R 400.00
* Zero rifles for accurate shooting

AK Laser Boresight, NC STAR 7.62 LASER BORESIGHTER: R 285.00
* Zero rifles for accurate shooting

Cardboard Figure targets x 100: R 500.00
* For marksmanship shooting

Range fittings and target construction materials: R 10,000.00
* Build ranges and construct targets.

Coal Rapid Action 4.5 mm air rifle pellets x 5000: R 1,850.00
* For marksmanship shooting

Bioval 0.25 gram Biodegradable airsoft BBs x 12 000: R 945.00
* For airsoft rifles for tactical fire and manoeuvre training

12 gram CO2 cartridges x 500: R 4,500.00
* For operation/activation of the AK47 airsoft rifles

Shotgun ammunition, 12 Gauge No7 Shot x 2000 rounds (R4.40 each): R 8,800.00
* Smaller shot size for training (cheaper and less target damage)

Shotgun ammunition, 12 Gauge SG (Buckshot) x 500 rds (R8.00 each): R 4,000.00
* Operational ammunition calibres for training purposes

Shotgun ammunition, 12 Gauge Solids x 200 rds (R6.50 each): R 2,600.00
* Operational ammunition calibres for training purposes

7.62 x 39 mm ammo (R35.50 each) x 3000: R 106,500.00
* Operational ammunition to be used for confirmation of marksmanship and live fire manoeuvre

TOTAL: R 258,185.00

Donations

    • Mar 01, 2019USD $ 25.02
    • “Thank you for the birthday wishes all the way from Africa! Wanted to share some of my birthday money — keep being amazing, thank you for saving the rhinos and the planet!” – Natalyn Daniels

    • Feb 04, 2019USD $ 377.59
    • “To help Gary and frienfs at ESD” – James Viljoen

    • Jan 25, 2019USD $ 100.00
    • “Keep up the great work, and lots of love to you!” – Sitz

    • Jan 24, 2019USD $ 71.18
    • “It is imperative for humanity that the survival African Rhino is an utmost priority, failure to protect the Rhino will almost certainly see it become extinct.” – McTernan family

    • Jan 24, 2019USD $ 200.01
    • “Keep up the great work!” – KELLY A

    • Jan 23, 2019USD $ 71.57
    • “Good luck with the wonderful work you are doing.” – Anonymous

    • Jan 23, 2019USD $ 14.31
    • “Thank you guys.” – JP Oosthuizen

    • Dec 05, 2018USD $ 72.23
    • “Happy Holidays and wishing Rhinoguard a successful 2019!” – Kinnard

    • Aug 04, 2018USD $ 52.53
    • “Love this!” – Jen

    • Jun 06, 2018USD $ 1 567.83
    • “I love this country been here 4 times playing bowls for Australia travelled to Kruger 3 Times keep up the great job you are doing stay safe” – Peter Henry

    • Jun 04, 2018R 115.29
    • “I hope this helps you Gary and your teams. Cheers Boet” – James Viljoen

    • May 01, 2018USD $ 40.12
    • “To Gary and all the team, keep up the amazing work. ” – Neil McDonald

    • Mar 02, 2018R 4 010.00
    • “Rossi Southern Africa drives to save the Rhino’s!” – Rossi Southern Africa

    • Feb 23, 2018USD $ 389.14
    • “Wish it could be more, great work Gary and Anna!” – Sam

    • Feb 23, 2018USD $ 85.79
    • “Good luck wonderful people” – Denise O’Mullane

    • Feb 23, 2018R 514.10
    • “Courage” – Anonymous