While typically used for hunting animals, thermal vision devices can benefit other areas, including wildlife protection. Schalk Kruger, the CEO of Ultranexus Pty Ltd, official Pulsar distributor in South Africa, tells us that in his country, most Pulsar devices are used to protect animals from poachers. Wondering how? Keep on reading to find out.
Hunting is a very big tradition in South Africa with an enormous following. Visitors from around the world travel to South Africa to hunt, and we have an abundance of wildlife.
One of the traditions in South Africa is a form of initiation – when someone hunts their first animal, they personally skin the animal and then eat a piece of the animal’s raw liver right after they have skinned it.
Some of the most sought-after animals include the springbuck, which is our national animal, as seen on the emblem of the South African rugby team. Other popular animals to hunt include kudu, gemsbok, nyala, and blesbok.
Hunting in South Africa is something special; we have a wider variety of species to hunt than anywhere else on the planet. We also have vastly different terrain in different parts of the country, so, in my opinion, hunting here can only be compared with other African countries like Namibia and not as much with Europe, Asia, or America. It’s something entirely different.
There is a massive problem with rhino and elephant poaching in South Africa and Africa in general. Poachers hunt and illegally kill rhinos and elephants in order to get their tusks and horns, which they sell on the market. Rhinos are currently being poached into extinction, and it is an enormous problem that the government, law enforcement, and anti-poaching units need to deal with.
In South Africa, there are many private game reserves that host tourists and show off the beautiful wild animals roaming around. Even though the areas are fenced off, poachers still break into these reserves and try to kill animals.
Anti-poaching units are set up at each game reserve to combat poaching. This includes the use of dogs, helicopters, 4×4 vehicles, firearms, and other equipment used by rangers to patrol and protect the game reserves as well as to react when poachers illegally enter their game reserves.
Until now, the rangers doing this honorable work have been poorly equipped, but with the rapid evolution of night vision technology, they are now able to operate successfully at night and identify poachers from ranges up to 2000 meters using thermal imaging devices such as the fantastic products manufactured by Pulsar.
Without thermal imaging, the rangers would not be able to succeed. Anti-poaching units have had an incredible increase in successfully preventing poaching efforts due to thermal imaging devices. Setting ambushes or following poachers is now much easier, and we have seen a dramatic drop in poaching incidents at reserves where the anti-poaching units are equipped with thermal imaging monoculars and binoculars. Crucially, thermal imagers allow the anti-poaching teams to gain the upper hand at night, which is usually the time the poachers strike.
The Pulsar Helion and Axion lines and the Merger LRF XP50 are the devices most commonly used and have been received incredibly well by their users. The feedback we have received is heartwarming – we hear a lot about incidents where the thermal imaging device saved rangers’ lives from dangers such as elephants, lions, hippos, and also poachers.
At Ultranexus Pty Ltd, we are very involved with some of the biggest private game reserves. We do numerous presentations to showcase how greatly thermal vision works from helicopters, hills, mountains, and viewpoints and supply them with both thermal imaging monoculars and binoculars by Pulsar.
Thermal imaging devices are also used for hunting as well as security. We have an enormous agricultural industry with farmers living on very large farms, so having a thermal imaging device for security is now as important to a farmer as his tractor.
My personal favorite device is the new Pulsar Merger XP50 LRF. The image quality, detection range, and ergonomics make it the best thermal imaging device in the world. I have looked through hundreds of thermal imaging devices, and nothing comes close to the Merger.
The sales of Pulsar devices are strictly monitored. Each person who buys one needs to fill in an end-user declaration with their address, ID number, and intended use of the device, as well as the serial number of the device.
If anything seems off or incorrect, then the device is not sold to the person. In some cases, the person is checked to see if they have a criminal record. We sell the devices to game reserves, farmers, hunters, and security companies, so we are well aware of who the end user will be and what they intend to use the device for.
Thermal imaging devices are also very expensive, making them out of reach for poachers as they are generally very poor and ill-equipped. They usually have nothing more than a stolen hunting rifle with an iron sight.
Before purchasing any night or thermal vision device, please make sure you adhere to the local legislation and only use it when it is allowed. Our ambassadors come from various countries and travel a lot, which allows them to test different devices. We do not encourage or support the illegal use of our devices in any events. If you wish to learn more about export and sales restriction policy, please visit the following link: Export and Sales Restriction Policy.