Illegal poaching of endangered animals has been a large problem in Africa for many years. Three rhinos are poached every day in South Africa for their horns, and a quarter of a million elephants have been killed for their ivory in the past six years. Poachers also target antelopes and other endangered species such as wild dogs and cheetah for their meat and skin.
In order to combat this problem, Transfrontier Africa founded the Black Mamba Anti-Poaching Unit to protect the Olifants West Region of Balule Nature Reserve, one of Africa's largest game reserves.
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The Black Mambas is an unarmed and all-female group, trained to spot, track down and arrest poachers. They are all between 20 and 30 years old and come from local communities and villages surrounding the reserve. So far, The Black Mambas have taken down over 12 poachers' camps and 3 bush meat kitchens while also reducing snaring and poisoning by 76% in the area, proving more effective than drones or thermal optics.
But The Black Mambas Program does more than just protect endangered wildlife. It also creates bonds within local communities and educates them about the animals and the importance of saving their natural heritage. The group's goal is to win the war on poaching not through violence, but through local communities working together.