29 Sep 2016 Story Ecosystems and Biodiversity

As world meets to protect wildlife, female wildlife rangers show the way

29 September 2016 – As nations take decisions to protect rhinos, elephants, pangolins and other threatened species in Johannesburg this week, the Black Mambas – 36 courageous female rangers fighting wildlife crime in South Africa – are showing how to do it on the ground.

Poachers in South Africa killed 1,175 rhinos in 2015 – that is more than three animals slaughtered each day. Risking their lives to stop this scourge, the Black Mambas cover up to 20 kilometers a day on foot, seeking out poachers, their camps and snares.

Since being founded in 2013, the Mambas eliminated a dozen poachers’ camps, seven bush meat kitchens and three quarters of snares in their area. Last year UN Environment honoured them with the world's highest environmental accolade – the Champions of the Earth Award.

UN Environment chief Erik Solheim took time out from the global wildlife meeting to visit the Mambas and see how they are achieving such success.