Meet the All-Female Anti-Poaching League Protecting the World's Most Endangered Species
The morality of big-game hunting reached a tipping point earlier this summer after the death of beloved Cecil the Lion. While poaching is still very illegal, there are still hunters in the world who make it their mission in life to shoot down some of the world's most endangered species, like rhinos and cheetahs, for sport. But within the boundaries of South Africa's Balule and Greater Kruger National Park, one all-female anti-poaching unit is taking a stand against the illicit trade.
The Black Mambas are an all-female, unarmed patrol group of 30 women who patrol wildlife preserves looking for traps and snares set by hunters. They are completely unarmed and are trained to communicate with any hunters they come across to peacefully and effectively dissuade them from hunting. And it's not just a love of animals that motivates these amazing women—it's love for the environment. One Black Mamba member, Amy Clark, told dw.com that one of the organization's main objectives was "to help stop people from becoming poachers in the first place and persuade them respect and protect the environment instead."
"I joined the Black Mambas because I love nature," says Colett Ngobeni in the video below. "I want to save nature. I want to save rhinos because they deserve to live like any other animal."
The Black Mambas are made up of local women who come from impoverished neighborhoods and are currently the only all-women anti-poaching unit working in South Africa. They've grown from six members to 30 since 2013. Over the past two years, they've destroyed over 350 snares, numerous fishing traps and poachers' camps, along with three bush-meat kitchens.
Judging from the amount of success they've had in just two years, the Black Mambas are proof of their own motto: "When you strike a woman, you strike a rock."
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