South Africa is home to some of the world's most diverse wildlife species. Unfortunately, these species are also among the most threatened, with poaching and illegal wildlife trafficking being major threat to their survival. In an effort to combat this problem, a group of women known as the Black Mambas Anti-Poaching Unit has emerged as a powerful force in the fight against poaching in South Africa.
The Black Mambas Anti-Poaching Unit was founded in 2013 by Transfrontier Africa NGO, with the goal of combating the poaching of rhinos in South Africa's Balule Nature Reserve. The unit, which consists of a team of women from local communities, has since expanded to other reserves and has become an important part of South Africa's efforts to protect its wildlife.
The Black Mamba Anti-Poaching Unit is unique in several ways. Firstly, it is made up entirely of women, a group that is traditionally underrepresented in conservation and anti-poaching efforts. This not only helps to challenge gender stereotypes, but it also provides employment opportunities for women from local communities who might otherwise struggle to find work. Secondly, the unit operates using a community-based approach. The women are drawn from the local communities that surround the reserves and are trained to protect the wildlife in their own backyard.
The unit has demonstrated the importance of a community-based approach to conservation and has shown that local women play a crucial role in protecting South Africa's wildlife.
I have spent a couple of days with Black Mambas patrolling the premises, training the new recruits and visiting the local primary school as part of their Bush Babies initiative where they teach conservation classes in 11 schools near the park.