The all-female patrol stopping South Africa's rhino poachers


Across Africa, rhino poaching is up. However, one brave group of conservationists is winning awards and recognition for their success in protecting the endangered, iconic animals. Patrolling the Balule Nature Reserve in South Africa, the Black Mambas--an all-women group--are not only eliminating poaching across the reserve but are also building trust and making connections between the local community and officials trying to protect the wildlife. Read more about their amazing efforts at the link. - “The Black Mambas are winning the war on poaching,” insists Siphiwe Sithole. “We have absolutely zero tolerance for rhino poaching and the illegal wildlife trade. The poachers will fall – but it will not be with guns and bullets.”

Sithole and Felicia Mogakane are members of South Africa’s Black Mambas, the world’s first all-female anti-poaching unit that has captured the public’s imagination. But it’s their success in reducing rhino deaths and breaking down the barriers between poor communities and elite wildlife reserves that is their most powerful weapon in the war on poaching, and has seen them pick up their second international conservation award this week.

The two women have travelled to London to receive the inaugural Innovation in Conservation award from UK charity Helping Rhinos. The award recognises projects “with an inspiring and innovative approach” that have shown positive results in protecting rhino populations.

Since forming in 2013, the Black Mambas have seen a 76% reduction in snaring and poaching incidents within their area of operation in Balule nature reserve in the country’s north-east. As well as the famous big five of rhino, lion, elephant, buffalo and leopard, the 40,000-hectare private reserve is home to zebra, antelope, wildebeest, cheetah, giraffe, hippos, crocodiles and hundreds of species of trees and birds.

Read more here.