We (Dylan and Christa Panos) joined the Hluhluwe Honorary Officers early this year in an attempt to get the Bhejane Students involved in local conservation projects. The first project we got involved in was the building of an aircraft hangar for the EKZN Wildlife Anti-poaching aircraft. The Bantam Plane is already in operation and has done a number of flights over the Zululand reserves. It is currently kept at the ZUMAT (Zululand Mission Air Transport) hanger with some other aircraft.
ZUMAT has offered its support to Ezemvelo in the fight against poaching by offering free use of the hanger. It is however an already crowded hanger and it soon became clear that a separate facility would be needed.
The Hluhluwe Honorary Officers took on this project and set out to build a 12x8 meter hanger for the Bantam. On the 3rd of March, a working party was planned to start laying the concrete floor of the hanger. We took off with a group of Bhejane students to assist with the effort. We had concreted about 40% of the floor when Tropical Cyclone Irina made her presence known. We scrambled in the rain, mud and cement to get covering over the already poured cement. At this point, we had to terminate the project for the day. 2 Weeks later, we were all back to finish what we had started. We would like to thank the Bhejane students who volunteered their free time for this project. We are looking forward to seeing it through to successful completion and wish the KZN Wildlife Team well in their fight against poaching.
Ningabulali obhejane bethu!
The following students volunteered to assist with the concreting of the floor:
Craig Clowes, Craig Bateman, Axel Primmer, Emma Ascher, Megan Balouza, Zabileon Lemena, Paul Jensen, Niquita Ellis, Jay Bell, Ashley Brownlie, Nicola Nicolosi, Ryan Smart, Khyle Pretorius.