The Black Mambas are the first female anti-poaching unit in South Africa. They are mothers, sisters, aunties and friends. They work in 21 day shifts and patrol the Balule National Reserve looking for signs of poaching. They are often the breadwinners of their families and can look after three generations. Named after the deadly snake, they are on the frontline of the crisis to fight poaching and extinction. Since being formed, they are one of the greatest, non-violent weapons to help animals remain free to roam and free from harm.
The Black Mambas work in small teams and patrol the reserve in heat that can reach 40 degrees. When Safeena went on a patrol with Dedaya, they stopped off at a waterhole were she inspected the vicinity. As well as the visual inspection of the area, the Black Mambas look out for, and collect, snares, which can slowly and painfully kill and severely maim any animal (or human) that are caught in it.
As well as going on a day patrol, Safeena went on a night patrol with four of the Black Mambas who drove through the reserve, often shining a powerful spotlight on the parameters and in in the dense bush to warn off potential poachers. The Black Mambas are unarmed in this dangerous job but can call for backup should there be a need.
Poachers will be on foot in the reserve and cross the gateless borders. There are no fences (except for those on the perimeters) in Greater Kruger National Park as this is important for the migration and movement for the wildlife.
The Black Mambas was set up by conservationist and anthropologist Craig Spencer. In conversations with the volunteers of Transfrontier Africa, his talks were mainly about how his initiative came from the need to drive conservation using social upliftment. It’s about empowering women to be a part of the economy, infrastructure and education.
Every Black Mamba is recruited from the local community and the only requirement is that they have a good command of the English language. Once recruited, they undergo a rigorous training program. As well as two rounds of theoretical training that include Radio protocol, Animal identification, Animal observation, Search and Seizures, Arrest Procedures, Road blocks and access control, Vehicle Maintenance, Trauma First aid level 2, Court room procedures and statement writing, they also undergo paramilitary training.
All of the Black Mambas Safeena spoke to were passionate about preservation of the environment and conservation, not just for themselves but also for the generations to come. To them, being a Black Mamba is not just a job it’s a mission.
25% of the profit each print sold in the Black Mambas series will go to Transfrontier Africa.
All prints are priced by size. Please contact Safeena Chaudhry if you would like a different size to the one shown.
Please specify the caption of which print you would like. Each print is printed individually, signed and (when appropriate) mounted and framed. Please allow 14 days for delivery.
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25 % OF THE PROFITS WILL GO TO LIVE TO TRANSFRONTIER AFRICA