Anti-poaching game ranger gets to live his passion once again

HENSOLDT providing new skillset

Solly Mahlawule before the poacher attack in his role as wildlife protection ranger.

Pretoria, 23 November 2022In partnership with JacarandaFM, HENSOLDT is providing a new skillset and hope for the future to an anti-poaching game ranger that was critically injured in the line of duty while protecting wildlife.

HENSOLDT exists to pioneer technologies and human potential that promote the protection of all kinds of species worldwide, which is why we are supporting one of the silent warriors in South Africa to continue living his passion for protecting endangered species.

Above and beyond the call of duty

In South Africa, thousands of committed rangers risk their lives to protect endangered wildlife. The job of a ranger has changed significantly over the past few years from a conservation-based role to a more military and security position. This, while many rangers are the breadwinners in large and extended households.

One such hero is ranger Solly Mahlawule, who nearly lost his life in an ambush by poachers in May 2022 at a game reserve in Mpumalanga, South Africa. In spite of several shots in his legs and one in his arm, Solly survived the ordeal, but his left leg had to be amputated. Solly, an extremely positive and strong fighter, received a prosthetic limb and is making excellent progress with rehabilitation to learn how to walk and adapt physically to his new lifestyle. Unfortunately, his mobility has been compromised, which took away his chance continue earning an income as a field ranger.

HENSOLDT gives back

With the help of HENSOLDT and Good Morning Angels on JacarandaFM, South Africa’s biggest independent radio station, this brave man received a second chance.

To assist Solly to return to his passion of wildlife protection and help him adapt to his new lifestyle needs, HENSOLDT South Africa will help him build a new skillset by enabling him to acquire a qualification as a drone pilot which will allow him to continue to operate and earn an income as a wildlife protector. He will also be provided with an advanced tactical drone to help him fight the battle against poachers. The compassionate team from Jacaranda also donated R50 000 towards further expenses adapting to his new lifestyle.

JacarandaFM is further assisting Solly with another R50 000 to help with travel and accommodation needs during his studies and to make the necessary alterations to his home to accommodate his impaired mobility.

In the heartfelt radio interview, Solly reiterated his passion to continue protecting animals, in spite of the risks. “I want to protect animals,” says Mahlawule.

Listen to the recording of the interview here.

 

Together making the difference

HENSOLDT’s journey with Solly and his team goes back more than five years ago, to when HENSOLDT became the technology partner to the conservancy he was working on in 2017. “Since then we've become accustomed to sharing good news stories and milestones together – five years of no poaching on the farm where we started working together, 900 baby rhinos born in safety,” says Ferri Erasmus, HENSOLDT SA Head of Communications. The plight of rhinos remains a catastrophe in South Africa, but the hard work being done by rangers like Solly has made a difference. It came as a shock to everyone at HENSOLDT to hear about the horrific event that nearly took Solly's life. “It was just unimaginable to us that it should end there, that poachers would take his future from him, from such a remarkable person that still has so much to give,” says Erasmus.

A safer tomorrow for endangered species

While HENSOLDT is a global pioneer of technologies that are designed for protecting armed forces, civilians, assets and borders, the company is also actively making a difference as a protector of endangered species. HENSOLDT South Africa prides itself on its partnership with clients. “For us it’s not putting down the equipment and getting the business, for us it’s rather a journey,” says Werner Muller, HENSOLDT Chief Executive of Spectrum Monitoring and Security. Because of this philosophy, and because each wildlife scenario is different, with its own unique set of challenges, HENSOLDT’s experts collaborate with each client to develop a solution that addresses their specific needs. The know-how acquired through these projects have since been implemented for protecting other wildlife and national parks to safe-keep endangered species such as lions, elephants, polar bears and even abalone.

 

About HENSOLDT South Africa

HENSOLDT South Africa is a global pioneer of technology and innovation in defence and security electronics. With its combined experience, creativity and innovation, HENSOLDT South Africa brings together a comprehensive range of products, systems and services across defence and civil markets, from electronic warfare and optronics, to spectrum monitoring and security solutions. With more than 700 local employees and combined revenues in excess of R1.5 billion, HENSOLDT South Africa is one of the largest defence and security electronics companies in South Africa.

On land, at sea or in the air, HENSOLDT’s world-class solutions detect and protect to make the world a safer place.

Press contact

Ferri Erasmus
T: +27 (12) 421 6290
E: ferri.erasmus@hensoldt.net

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