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Sunday, September 20, 2015

Meet the Black Mambas a Female Anti-Poaching Unit

“I am strong, I am a woman and I bite like a Mamba” says 22-year-old Leitah, a member of the South African Black Mamba anti-poaching unit.

Meet the Black Mambas a Female South African Anti-Poaching Unit
Meet the Black Mambas a Female South African Anti-Poaching Unit.

The beautiful but deadly serious Black Mamba anti-poaching unit is a South African ranger group consisting mostly of women, brave women. Since it was first created in 2013, the 26 member unit has arrested six poachers, shut down five poacher camps, and reduced snaring by 76 percent in the Balule Private Game Reserve.

“Their many successes are a result of their impressive courage and determination to make a difference in their community. The Black Mambas are an inspiration not only locally, but across the world to all those working to eliminate the scourge of the illegal wildlife trade.” said UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner.

Serious girl power, the Black Mambas anti-poaching unit is a South African ranger group.
Serious woman power, the Black Mambas
anti-poaching unit is a South African ranger group.
Photo by Julia Gunther
Stopping poachers is particularly vital in South Africa, where 1,215 endangered rhinos were killed in 2014. Rhinoceros horns are worth hundreds of thousands of dollars on the international black market. The Balule has an open border with the world-famous Kruger National Park which has been plagued by poachers.

Leitah Mkhabela, a member of the Black Mamba rangers, said: “I am not afraid, I know what I am doing and I know why I am doing it. If you see the poachers, you tell them not to try, tell them we are here and it is they who are in danger. Animals deserve to live; they have a right to live. Do your part. When demand ends, the killing will end. Say yes to life. Say no to illegal rhino horn and elephant ivory.”

The Black Mamba’s awarded by the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) were honored with its highest environmental prize, Champions of the Earth Award.

[ Now that's what women's empowerment is all about! ]

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