Meet Some Rangers
Meet some of the incredible women who are working tirelessly to protect wildlife from extinction. As you’re reading this, these brave female rangers are out there in the field, monitoring wildlife, seizing snares, clearing out poachers’ camps, and patrolling vast wilderness areas.
Caren (21) is a Maasai woman and a female wildlife ranger employed by the Mara Elephant Project (MEP). Caren was noted as a "top 1%" recruit and is now leading the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (SWT) Mau De-Snaring Unit in the Mau Forest in Kenya to combat illegal logging and bushmeat poaching. Since June 2020, Caren's team have arrested 90 suspects for unlawful habitat destruction, destroyed 17 kilns, confiscated 56 bags of charcoal and 4,311 illegal posts, trees or timbers. They've also arrested eight suspects for bushmeat poaching and removed 182 snares and seized 39 kg of bushmeat. Caren is the recipient of the first World Female Ranger Award by How Many Elephants.
Leitah (29) is a ranger from the Black Mamba Anti-Poaching Unit in South Africa. She has an immense amount of responsibility, from sweeping life-threatening wildlife snares from wilderness areas to tracking down poachers in the bush. Leitah and her fellow rangers are working hard to create a danger-free zone for wild animals, enabling them to live freely and sustaining wildlife populations.
She says “we cannot do it by ourselves. We need more eyes, more people helping us. When I started as a Black Mamba, people were scared of the training we went through. People said this training is for men and we couldn’t do it because we are women. The hardest part was that even women were looking down on us. But people started to come around once the impact of the female rangers was clear. It has helped women in the community to see themselves differently. People have seen how we want to do this and so many women started to support us.” Photo: Black Mambas
To support Leitah and the Black Mambas, you can visit their fundraising page here.
Casey-Jo is a Countryside Ranger on the Isle of Gigha in Scotland. She has helped facilitate a new ranger service on the island, working to monitor and survey the wildlife and develop low carbon initiatives (e.g. e-bike schemes, community zero-carbon group) across the island.
Casey-Jo said: “I am absolutely delighted to have been offered my dream role, working to protect and enhance the natural environment as well as improve access to nature for everyone.”
Agnes is a Big Life Ranger. She’s from a small village in Kimana Group Ranch and is one of 14 children. Her father, who had two wives, had dreamed of being a Big Life ranger. Agnes had dreamed of becoming a doctor, but her family did not have the money to pay for her schooling. Although she wasn’t able to finish school, she was ambitious and always on the lookout for new opportunities. When Big Life began recruiting for new rangers, it was her father who encouraged her to apply, and it was Agnes who succeeded in landing the job. Today, Agnes is a successful ranger with Big Life. She helps her community whenever possible, such as with vehicle transport, and is actively involved in human-wildlife conflict mitigation and chasing elephants out of farms. But being a woman has put Agnes in a unique position as she’s able to approach people in a way that her male colleagues cannot, and access critical information networks (in particular, from other women). In one instance, women were cutting down trees in our area of operation to make charcoal. Once Agnes became employed by Big Life, this stopped because they knew they were doing something against what Agnes was working for. And while Agnes was not able to become a doctor, she is now in a position to fund the education for three of her siblings.
Nkateko (30) is a ranger in Africa’s first all-female anti-poaching unit - The Black Mambas. Nkateko has been recognised in the IUCN International Ranger Awards for her dedication to protecting wildlife. Since their inception in 2013, the Black Mambas - a 36-strong anti-poaching unit in South Africa - have dramatically reduced bushmeat poaching and the use of snares. Nkateko is the breadwinner in her family - without her father, she supports her mother and 5 siblings. To support Nkateko and the Black Mambas, you can visit their fundraising page here.