In South Africa rhino poaching is leading to the extinction of rhinos, but one group of women have made it their mission to put an end to the practice and catch those involved. The Black Mambas Anti-Poaching Unit is made up of 26 Black South African women, and they’re the first and only all female anti-poaching unit in the world.
The Black Mambas, who are unarmed, patrol Balule Nature Reserve within Kruger National Park. The women were picked by Balule warden Craig Spencer when he wanted to reach out to the communities surrounding the park.
“The problem really is that there is this perception that has developed in the communities outside the park–they see a uniformed official and think we are the sheriff of Nottingham, [and] they see the poachers as Robin Hood,” Spencer told the Guardian.
The women Spencer hired where high-school graduates, but also unemployed. They have all been trained in combat and tracking.
“Lots of people said, ‘How can you work in the bush when you are a lady?’ But I can do anything I want,” said Leitah Michabela, a Black Mambas guard. “Many other people, especially young ladies like us… they want to join us.”
With rhino horns going for as much as $35,000 a pound in Asia, one member of the Black Mambas made it clear why she’s joining the effort to save the rhinos.
“I am a lady, I am going to have a baby. I want my baby to see a rhino, that’s why I am protecting it.”
Image Credits: Elephantopia Facebook/Black Mambas Facebook