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The Black Mambas, a Mainly Women Anti-Poaching Unit, Have Been Honored with the UN's Highest Environmental Prize

The Black Mambas, a Mainly Women Anti-Poaching Unit, Have Been Honored with the UN's Highest Environmental Prize

South Africa's Black Mambas Anti-Poaching Unit has been honored by the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) with its highest environmental prize.

The 26-member unit, comprised of mainly women, recently received the Champions of the Earth Award.

Since the unit was created in 2013, they have arrested six poachers, shot down five poacher camps, and have reduced snaring (the practice of baiting and trapping animals) by 76 percent in the Balule Private Game Reserve, according to TIME.

They patrol the reserve — part of the 2 million-hectare Greater Kruger National Park that's home to rhinos, leopards, lions, elephants, and other animals.

TIME reports that the rangers reportedly know the land so well that a mere misplaced stone is enough to alert them of poachers nearby.

"Their many successes are a result of their impressive courage and determination to make a difference in their community," said UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner, according to TIME.

NEXT: Meet the All-Female Anti-Poaching League Protecting the World's Most Endangered Species »

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Photo Credit: Black Mamba Anti-Poaching Unit Facebook