South Africa’s first anti-poaching group: The Black Mambas


Black Mambas official website explains all of the tasks they do and the opportunities that are provided to others.

The Black Mambas are the very first, all female, anti-poaching group in South Africa. The group was founded in 2013 by Transfrontier Africa NPC. Their job is to protect the Olifants West Region of Balule Nature Reserve. Their work follows the concept of the “Broken Window” philosophy, which is a philosophy proposed and created by George Kelling and James Q. Wilson. The theory states that “one unrepaired broken window is a signal that no one cares, and so breaking more windows costs nothing”, according to Psychology Today. The meaning behind this is that visible signs of damage can encourage more crime and antisocial behavior. 

The Black Mambas operation was invited to expand further into other regions. They now protect all 62,000 hectares of Balule Nature Reserve of the Great Kruger Area in South Africa. 

Black Mamba Anti Poaching Unit
Black Mamba Anti Poaching Unit. (Photo Courtesy of Helping Rhinos)

The Black Mambas website explains the one and only main goal of the group, which is “not only the protection of rhinos through boots on the ground but also through being a role model in their communities. These 23 young rangers and 7 Environmental Monitors want their communities to understand that the benefits are greater through rhino conservation rather than poaching, addressing the social and moral decay that is a product of the rhino poaching within their communities.”

One of their main goals is to help the younger generations develop into independent and competent adults, and this way they can help the community and its people. A program that has been made to further this idea into reality is The Bush Babies. 

The Bush Babies school program is an educational program that is offered (currently) in 10 schools surrounding the Great Kruger National Park. The program runs weekly for an hour throughout the academic year. While the program is focused towards children, according to the Black Mambas website, it impacts the lives of co-workers, supporters, learners’ families, and the communities themselves. 

The program separates into two age groups, which are the Mini Bush Babies Programs and the Bush Babies School program. The Mini Bush Babies is a program for students in grades 2 or 3 that have 7 to 9 years of age. The Black Mamba’s website explains “it is a one day course that educates the learners about conservation on a less formal teaching approach, with the aim to make it more hands on and as vocal as possible.” This program has fun activities for the children such as drawing the environment as they understand it, puppet shows about poaching of rhinos and elephants, and dancing and singing. 

The Bush Babies School Program is a program for children between the ages of 12-17 years (Grades 6-7). The program is offered to 10 schools on a weekly basis, and is interlinked with the school curriculum. The program offers introductions into Conservation, ecology, the big five, and the importance of rhino’s during the course of an academic year. 

In total there are 7 programs/initiatives on their website. The other programs and initiatives include School Holiday Program, Nature Guardians, Environmental Bush Camps, Dress me to Learn, and Elders in the Park. 

You can learn more about them on their website at,