Founded in 2013 by Transfrontier Africa, the Black Mamba Anti-Poaching Unit was the first indigenous, all-female anti-poaching unit in the world. The lady Mambas were first tasked with protecting the Olifants West Nature Reserve within the Greater Kruger region of South Africa. Within a year of operating in Olifants West, the Mambas were invited to extend their anti-poaching work to defend Gritjie Private Nature Reserve, Ekuthuleni Conservancy, and the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre. The Mambas’ work in these many reserves has yielded verifiably positive results.
Most poaching is driven by the demand for endangered animal body parts by the wildlife trade. The Black Mamba’s priority is to safeguard the endangered and critically endangered animals within the areas they administer; rhinos, elephants, lions, and pangolins are among the creatures benefitting from the Mambas’ expertise and protection; iconic animals who would otherwise be brutally killed for Traditional Chinese Medicine, for useless trinkets, for luxury goods and for wildlife markets.
Equally important is the role the Black Mambas play within their communities; they are role models who successfully amplify the economical, ecological, social, and cultural significance of an ethos that is earth centered.
Despite the significance of their work, the Mambas’ own children and their families rarely experience the wonder of seeing an elephant, a rhino, or a lion in the wild. If African voices are to rise on behalf of Africa’s wild wonder, the cultural and economic distance that separates Africa’s people from the continent’s wild heritage must be dismantled. GMFER aims to bring Africa’s vanishing rainbow, the remains of her wild world, to the children and the families of the Black Mambas’. We hope to learn from the lady Mambas even as we -collectively- strive to create spaces that enrich and amplify the knowledge, experience, and capacity of those voices most critical in cherishing Africa’s ecological legacy.
In collaboration with Wild Olive Tree Camp, Transfrontier Africa, the Black Mambas, and HALO, GMFER organizes and sponsors ~monthly campouts with the Black Mambas, their families and their children at Manyeleti Game Reserve, within Greater Kruger in South Africa; we call this program Mambas in the Park. The campout is hosted by Wild Olive Tree Camp and consists of workshops centered around ecology and community. During the campout, the Mambas and their children participate in x2 game drives; one at dusk and one in the early AM. While learning from each other, the Mambas and their children have a great deal of fun at Wild Olive Tree Camp; the swimming pool is an inevitable hit, even in the coldest of weather! The campout is concluded with an educational program hosted by HALO at Nourish Eco-Village on the nature and value of “wild kindness”.
The vision of Mambas in the Park is to establish creative and meaningful ways to disrupt dominant and persistent conservation paradigms that are failing human and animal communities throughout the African continent. These harmful paradigms must be replaced by those that are less didactic, deeply experiential, and deeply bound to nature.
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