By Jeffrey Barbee
Excerpted from the UK Guardian, February 2015
The battle against the poaching that kills a rhino every seven hours in South Africa has acquired a new weapon: women.
The Black Mambas are all young women from local communities, and they patrol inside the Greater Kruger national park unarmed. Billed as the first all-female unit of its kind in the world, they are not just challenging poachers, but the status quo.
The Mambas are the brainchild of Craig Spencer, ecologist and head warden of Balule nature reserve, a private reserve within Kruger that borders hundreds of thousands of impoverished people.
The private reserve’s scientists and managers have had to become warriors, employing teams of game guards to protect not only the precious rhinos but lions, giraffes, and many other species targeted by poaching syndicates. The Mambas are their eyes and ears on the ground.
When the poaching crisis started – in 2007 just 13 rhino were killed in South Africa – Spencer saw other reserves within Kruger “taking out the same old rusty tools that we fought this same old war with a hundred times over, rather than to say, Hey! Let’s get better tools, newer tools!” ….
Since we broke this story it has been covered by dozens of news sources.
We created a short film about it for public television in the USA, you can watch it below.