3. Mar, 2016

The Black Mamba Anti Poaching Unit

The Black  Mambas  are young  African women  forming  a unit of 26 rangers recruited by the South African government in the war against poachers. The unit was  set up  three years ago.  The Back Mambas have  a hard and dangerous job with irregular  payment. It means 21 day out in the bush and 10 days home. Many poachers  often coming  from the same village took up poaching because it is relatively well paid. The Back Mambas are proud of their camouflage  uniforms (see picture  at the left).  People first laughed at them but that has changed; they are now admired for their dangerous work and have even become role models*.  Since their presence not a single rhino was killed in Balule a 40.000 hectares region in the Krueger Nationial Park  (this number was much higher in previous years). Black Mambas do not carry a weapon but function as ‘eyes and ears of the bush’. They search for tracks of poachers and  the smell of cigarette smoke.  In dangerous situations they contact their male colleagues of the armed response that are located in secret camps in the bush. The armed men are only allowed to shoot poachers in case of self defense.   

The ranger job pays poorly. The  Mambas are also badly equipped and in need of  night binoculars, GPS, torches, first aid kits and communication apparatus.  And more rangers to patrol the immense regions. Today its  World Wildlife  day.  In the 3 days conference Save Wildlife now held in Scheveningen Holland,  plans are discussed  to stop the widespread wildlife crime (estimated  profit  100 billion dollars a year) and develop better measures  against ivory trade  and other products  with target countries in Asia, in particular China  


*The Volkskrant  Thursday 2 March 2016