Project information

Black Mambas APU - Women Protecting Wildlife

The Black Mambas, an all female anti-poaching unit, operating in the Greater Kruger Park in South Africa, who care passionately about their wildlife heritage. Frustrated by the unprecedented rise in wildlife crime they have united to conduct anti-poaching operations and educate local communities.

Six months for training new recruits

Charity information: Helping Rhinos

Helping Rhinos logo
  • Need


    EXTINCTION is the only outcome if rhino poaching continues at its current level. South Africa has the largest population of rhino, but has experienced a 9,300% increase in poaching since 2007. Last year 1,025 rhinos were killed, if the current rate continues, rhinos will become extinct in the wild by 2025.
    The Black Mambas project focus is on park protection, front line anti-poaching operations and engaging local communities to change attitudes and behaviours.


    The Black Mambas have undertaken a formal military training and will protect rhino through an increased anti-poaching presence in an area worst hit by the rhino poaching crisis.
    They have become role models and an increasingly influential voice in their community as a result of their conservation work. Many Mambas, previously unemployed are now supporting large families.
    This unit of young African women is addressing community social and moral decay, a product of unemployment.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Provide a strong deterrent to poachers so that rhino and all other wildlife may survive and thrive.


    » • VHF rhino tracking to monitor location of rhinos and ensure anti-poaching activity is focussed and targeted on appropriate areas.
    » • Visual policing of the environment, including boundary patrols and early detection of potential poaching activity.
    » • Conduct searches of public vehicles to identify any suspicious activity close to their area of operation.
    » • Night time vehicle patrols and observations in their area of operation. These are increased at the time of a full moon.

    What success will look like

    A reduction in rhino poaching in the Black Mambas area of operation compared over a sustained period of time and compared to local averages.

    Aim 2

    Increase the influence of women in the local communities by providing meaningful job opportunities.


    » • Black Mamba professional training recognised and supported by SANParks, SA Wildlife Authority
    » • Paid employment. These women are often supporting entire families, often with up to 10 individuals relying on the income they provide.
    » • Community outreach. School visits help educate children on the importance of protecting wildlife for the community and their heritage

    What success will look like

    A reduction in illegal activity in the community as a result of Black Mambas presence and improved co-operation and a greater number of new recruits coming forward for training.

  • Impact


    The project will see a reduction in rhino poaching within its area of operation over a sustained period of time. The project will also be expanded and be rolled out across the region and countrywide, bringing a greater harmony between local communities and wildlife. This will also increase the importance wildlife can play in the growth and success of the community.


    The highest risk is to the lives of the Black Mambas, both from the dangerous wildlife that inhabit their area of operation and from poachers. This may result in resignations and difficulty in recruiting. It is impossible to eliminate these risks but, they are mitigated by providing in depth wildlife, bush and military training, as well as incorporating carefully selected team structures with experienced unit leaders.


    Donors will receive a bi-monthly report, produced by the Black Mambas Management team, detailing the number of new recruits and the key activities and successes achieved for the period of reporting. Interim updates will also be posted on our website and social media.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £20,000

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £14,600 Salary and training Training for a unit of 6 new recruits and salary for one year
      £2,900 Equipment Uniform, boots, torch and radios
      £2,500 Transport Fuel for anti-poaching patrols
  • Background


    The Black Mamba’s current area of operation is the Balule Game reserves, which form part of the Greater Kruger Park, South Africa. The Greater Kruger Park is home to largest population of rhino in the world, and has become the epicenter of the current rhino poaching crisis.
    If we are to save the rhino from extinction, we must succeed in this area. The Black Mambas project is engaging with the local communities, many of which are very poor and with little employment


    • The local community, through improved employment prospects and changing the role of women in the community to be a more respected and influential presence.
    • The local wildlife, including rhinos, through improved protection from poachers and a generally safer environment to live in
    • Local land / game reserve owners through the protection and sustainability of eco-tourism trade, which will allow for further an improved protection of their rhinos and other wildlife

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    Helping Rhinos works in partnership with the Black Mambas project, utilising our strengths in fundraising and allowing the team in the field to focus on anti-poaching activity. Impressive results have been seen to date with just 3 rhinos poached in the first 11 months of operation compared to 16 in the previous 6 months.
    The project will only achieve true success if it is able to grow and be rolled out to a much wider area. Additional teams and funding are therefore required.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Craig Spencer – Managing Director, Transfrontier Africa

    A leading conservationist and field ecologist, The Black Mambas project was Craig’s brainchild and he oversees the whole operation today.

Black Mambas on Patrol

Black Mambas on Patrol