Women of the Black Mambas take on poachers
A group of South African women who are part of an anti-poaching unit are not afraid to man-up in a nature reserve. The Black Mambas are well-trained bobbies on the beat in the Olifants West Nature Reserve, and their success can be seen in the massive drop in snaring.
A group of 26 South African women is on a mission: to stop poaching so that their children and grandchildren are able to see Africa’s Big 5 in the wild.
Known as the Black Mambas Anti-Poaching Unit (APU) of Transfrontier Africa, they protect the Olifants West Nature Reserve. It forms part of the Balule Nature Reserve, near Kruger National Park. It is not an easy job for them, because they work in a male-dominated environment.
Amy Clark, the project administrator at Transfrontier Africa, says the women have to endure the judgement of others while trying to prove themselves on the job. “Since the majority of our Mambas are mothers, they also have to leave their families behind for extended periods of time while on duty in the reserve.
“Former soldiers and old-school conservationists had doubts that the Mambas could effectively protect wildlife, but the success of our female mambas has triumphed over the scepticism,” she adds.
“I want my baby to see a rhino, that’s why I am protecting it,” one of the women, who is pregnant, told Grind TV.
Clark says the Mambas are fully qualified to carry out arrests. “Since the deployment of our first team in April 2013, we have, to date, assisted in the arrest of six poachers. However, our mission is not to catch poachers, but to prevent poaching altogether by early detection and visual policing.
“We do not measure our success on the number of poachers caught, but on the number of weeks free of any poaching-related incidents.”