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