Target: Craig Spencer, Warden of Balule Private Nature Reserve
Goal: Praise the valiant efforts of female park rangers and their success in drastically reducing rhino poaching.
A group of women calling themselves the “Black Mambas” has found a way to enact real change in the landscape of rhino poaching while simultaneously empowering itself. The South African all-female team has managed to cut rhino poaching by 75 percent, despite the increased black-market demand for rhino horns. Sign this petition in support of the brave women fighting to save this endangered species against the odds.
The all-women team patrols within the Balule nature reserve inside the Greater Kruger national park, unarmed. They are the eyes and ears for the private park’s guards and the ever-present deterrent against poaching. The 26 women were all jobless high school graduates from the impoverished community surrounding the private park before becoming employed by the reserve. Many believe the disparity between the wealth within the park and the poverty outside its fences has led an increasing number of locals to poaching, enticed by the high black market price—higher than cocaine—and feeling alienated by the park itself. The women underwent rigorous training and were given donated army fatigues. Since the women began their patrol, snare poaching in the park has dropped by 90 percent.
In 2007, when the rhino poaching crisis began, 13 rhinos were killed. By 2014, South Africa was losing an average of three rhinos per day. From the spring of 2014 to February 2015, the park had not lost a single rhino under the Black Mambas’ watch, while a neighboring park had lost 23 rhinos to poaching. The reserve also boasts a 29-man team of armed guards who the Mambas rely on to investigate their finds.
The efforts at Greater Kruger are working to involve the community in conservation, empower women and protect endangered and threatened animals at the same time. The Black Mambas are proof that this is the kind of approach needed to effect real change.
Sign this petition in support of the Balule nature reserve and its Black Mambas.
Dear Mr. Spencer,
The courageous Black Mambas at the Greater Kruger National Park act as proof that community involvement is the key to conservation success. These ladies’ tireless efforts have dropped the instance of rhino poaching by 75 percent, while empowering these women and incorporating the economy and interest of the local community.
In the same 10-month period that a neighboring park lost 23 rhinos, the area patrolled by the Mambas did not lose a single rhino. As the black market demand for rhino horns skyrockets out of control, new approaches must be employed to battle it.
I applaud the Greater Kruger park and its heroic Black Mambas.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Entropy1963 via Wikimedia Commons