Being a ranger is a tough job, especially when working a long way from home in remote locations such as Limpopo National Park in Mozambique. To keep spirits high, the team makes up some fun and games…which unfortunately leaves Melvin Zifesho, Limpopo National Park’s Administrative Officer, drawing the short straw.
At Limpopo National Park’s Forward Operating Base, more commonly known as the FOB, the team has developed a system whereby any uncompleted activity or slip-up in duties leads to the wrongdoer rolling a dice. Each number represents an unpleasant task ranging from cleaning vehicles, making coffee for a week or in Melvin’s case, having to complete a 1 mile (1.6 km) rock run.
The reason for Melvin having to roll the dice, is due to him breaking his vegetarian diet that he had committed to seeing out for three weeks. After cutting his challenge short and giving in to the temptation of eating meat, he had to roll the dice to determine his fate. Luck was not on his side and after rolling a six, he had to tackle the rock run which meant taking a 24kg kettlebell for a run to the top of the airstrip and back. Luckily, his team is there to support and he is cheered on by his fellow rangers to get the job done.
Apart from Melvin thinking twice before breaking a challenge, the added benefit of the rock run is improved fitness which is very important when working in the bush. The team stationed at the FOB are at the forefront of counter-poaching efforts and as they operate in tough conditions, having a high level of mental and physical toughness is crucial to dealing with the demands of the job.
Peace Parks Foundation is grateful to all the teams on the ground for their dedication to conserving these protected areas and keeping our wildlife safe.