Target: The Black Mambas Unit
Goal: Praise this all-woman, all-African anti-poaching league for protecting the world’s most endangered species.
The Black Mambas are the world’s first all-woman, all-African anti-poaching league. Made up of highly trained recruits from local impoverished communities, the group patrols Balule Game Reserve in South Africa, searching for signs of illegal game hunters such as bush meat kitchens or encampments. An unarmed, anti-violent group, the Black Mambas believe that the war on poaching will be won through education and community building, and not through violent coercion or the threat of incarceration.
Walking the perimeter of the park (over 20 miles) daily, the Black Mambas can quickly detect signs of forced entry that indicate the presence of illicit game hunters. In addition to their patrols, they speak to park visitors before they access the reserve, educating them about illegal animal poaching and its potential signs and effects. This two-pronged approach has proved wildly successful. Since the league’s inception in 2013, their park has seen a dramatic drop in poaching; no rhinos have been killed in Balule Game Reserve since the Mambas began their patrols, while other parks have averaged two dozen rhino deaths apiece. To date, the group has identified and eradicated the camps of ten groups of poachers, destroyed over 250 snares, and reduced illegal trapping activity by more than 70 percent in their target range.
When not out in the field, the Black Mambas devote themselves to community outreach and education, visiting local schools to speak about the illegal animal trade and conservation issues. Their community work has made it difficult for poachers to recruit locals for participation in the illegal animal trade. Their work recently attracted the attention of the United Nations, who awarded them the Champion of the Earth award for their devotion to the cause of poaching eradication. By signing this petition, you can show your appreciation for this amazing group of African women working toward a world in which the illegal animal trade no longer exists.
Dear Black Mambas,
Thank you for organizing to bring an end to the poaching of rhinos, elephants, lions, pangolins, and other targeted animals. Your work targeting bush meat kitchens, poaching encampments, and snares is helping us all envision a future where the illicit animal trade no longer exists. Moreover, your community-based approach is providing education and guidance to many in need.
We applaud your work to end poaching through the anti-violent framework of education and social uplift. Locating and destroying ten poaching camps, eradicating over 350 snares, and reducing illegal trapping by more than 70 percent are stunning successes. You have made an unbelievable difference, and we believe that the Black Mambas will continue to build on these victories. Thank you, Black Mambas, for your unique approach to fighting poaching.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Julia Gunther