In 2023, South Africa experienced a significant reduction in rhino poaching cases. In the first six months of the year, 231 rhinos fell victim to poachers, marking an 11% decrease compared to the previous year. While this decrease is a positive sign, the fact that more than one rhino continues to be killed per day calls for continued vigilance and action.
The Black Mambas, an all-female anti-poaching unit formed in 2013, have been a longstanding source of inspiration to their communities. These fearless women have defied initial scepticism, operating without firearms to protect wildlife, and have successfully saved numerous animals from the deadly snares of poachers.
EcoTraining, a renowned organisation with a 30-year legacy of reconnecting people with nature, exploring the African bush, and promoting conservation, has played a vital role in empowering the Black Mambas. Over the past three years, EcoTraining has trained two members of this remarkable unit annually, equipping them with essential skills to enhance their daily work.
“Being able to support and align with this incredible group of women, being a part of their training journey and knowing it will improve their daily operations is an absolute honour for EcoTraining” said EcoTraining Managing Director, Anton Lategan.
For Goodness Mhlanga and Felicia Letong Mogokane, their current training with EcoTraining has been transformative, and they are commited to sharing their newfound knowledge with their colleagues and communities.
"This training is a game-changer for me. As a guide, I've been trained in understanding the Big 5, animal behaviours, and all aspects of trees and birds. It's shaping me to develop a deep connection with wildlife, and I'm eager to pass on this knowledge to others," said Goodness Mhlanga.
"I was inspired to work in the bush because my father was a ranger in Kruger National Park, and we often accompanied him during school holidays. I couldn't afford to atend college to follow in his footsteps, but I was fortunate to join the Black Mambas. Now, with the EcoTraining 55-Day Field Guiding course, I've gained valuable insights and can continue to grow both personally and professionally. Working in nature every day is a privilege,” said Felicia Letong Mogokane.
The knowledge acquired through this training will undoubtedly enhance their understanding of the environment, enabling them to make more informed decisions when encountering animals and nature.
Through this training initiative, the Black Mambas have also been empowered to lead “Bush Babies Bush Camps”, a camp where they teach children about the bush within the bush environment.
These inspirational women remain unwavering in their commitment to eradicating poaching and serve as role models not only within their community but also to all of us, encouraging us to be guardians of nature.
To find out more about all the courses that EcoTraining offers visit the website at Courses & Experiences | EcoTrainingEcoTraining
EcoTraining is the pioneer and leader in Africa’s safari guide and wildlife training. The safari industry widely recognises EcoTraining’s credibility and standard of excellence in nature guide training. We offer accredited career courses, gap year and sabbatical programmes, nature programmes, high school and university study abroad programmes, custom courses and on-site professional guide training at safari lodges. All courses are run directly from EcoTraining’s bush camps, which have no fencing, and are situated in prime wilderness areas across South Africa, Botswana, and Kenya.