Black mamba

Black Mambas Anti-Poaching Unit

Poaching is a major threat to wildlife and biodiversity, even threatening the overall survival of certain species — such as the critically endangered black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis). This crisis, exacerbated by the demand for rhino horns to be sold in the illegal wildlife trafficking market, is especially prominent in South Africa, home to the majority of the world’s remaining rhinos. In response to this crisis, Transfrontier Africa, a South African organization based near Kruger National Park, formed the Black Mambas Anti-Poaching Unit ten years ago. The Black Mambas are an all-female, unarmed unit who patrol and protect the most critically affected areas within Balule Nature Reserve, part of the Greater Kruger National Park. This approach is an alternative to the armed patrols and fortress conservation tactics more commonly used and has dramatically decreased wildlife poaching in the area. To further involve and empower the surrounding communities, the Black Mambas have a conservation and wildlife education program for local school children, The Bush Babies Environmental Education Program, also formed by Transfrontier Africa.
Black mamba
The Living Desert works directly with both exceptional programs by conducting in-the-field research to inform and improve future community-based efforts in the area. In 2018, The Living Desert team traveled to South Africa where they conducted a study on the social impacts of the programs by interviewing community members in which the Black Mambas and Bush Babies were active. The direct results of this study prompted Transfrontier Africa to expand the Bush Babies program to additional, nearby communities to help in furthering conservation awareness and education.
The Living Desert
A follow-up study was completed by The Living Desert in 2022 to assess local communities’ perceptions of wildlife, conservation, and protected areas. Results of the interviews indicate that Transfrontier Africa would benefit from expanding the outreach efforts of the programs further and helped to define areas of concern within the communities and ways in which Transfrontier Africa can target their messaging. These key takeaways and other findings can inform and improve future community-based conservation efforts in this region, and The Living Desert will be there to help support all aspects of this important project.

Your contribution supports The Living Desert’s partnership with the Black Mambas Anti-Poaching Unit and the Bush Babies Environmental Education Program, crucial in fighting poaching and fostering conservation education in South Africa. Donate now to make a difference.

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