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Dublin: 11°C Tuesday 19 January 2021

The all-female poaching unit that's turning the tables and hunting the hunters

“If you see the poachers you tell them not to try, tell them we are here and it is they who are in danger.”

Source: AJ+/YouTube

THIS IS THE Black Mamba Anti-Poaching Group. A nearly all-female unit who’s aim is to catch poachers, stop hunting and protect the abundance of wildlife in South Africa’s Kruger National Park.

This week they won a top UN environmental award with their work described as “rapid and impressive”.

“The Black Mambas are an inspiration not only locally, but across the world to all those working to eliminate the scourge of the illegal wildlife trade,” remarked Achim Steiner of the UN Environment Programme.

It’s estimated that in the past two years the unit has helped arrest six poachers, reduce snaring by 76%, removed over 1,000 snares and put five poachers’ camps and two bush meat kitchens out of action.

The team’s main aim is to protect rhino, leopards, lions, elephants, cheetahs and hippos in the Balule Private Game Reserve area within Kruger.

mamba The team are based in the two million hectare Kruger National Park. Source: UN/Black Mamba Anti-Poaching Unit

The first of its kinda being made up of mostly women, one of the rangers Leitah Mkhabela says sounds a warning to wannabe poachers.

“I am not afraid, I know what I am doing and I know why I am doing it. If you see the poachers you tell them not to try, tell them we are here and it is they who are in danger.

“Animals deserve to live, they have a right to live. Do your part. When demand ends, the killing will end. Say yes to life. Say no to illegal rhino horn and elephant ivory.”

Read: Dentist who shot Cecil didn’t know the lion was a “known, local favourite” >

Read: American dentist who ‘paid $50,000 to kill a lion with a crossbow’ wanted by police >

About the author:

Rónán Duffy

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