With the recent reintroduction of black and white rhino into Zinave National Park in Mozambique, highly skilled rangers have been tasked to protect these iconic species and the other wildlife found within this now thriving piece of wilderness. It’s not often that we get to see the inner workings and plannings of a ranger patrol, but today, one of the rangers has taken us along to get a glimpse into what their daily work in Zinave looks like.
Before beginning their ranger patrol patrol, the team meets at dawn to discuss their routes for the day and find out if there is anything specific they need to look out for. After a short briefing, the rangers, who form part of Zinave’s quick reaction force, begin their day of patrolling the fence line around the sanctuary, sweeping the ground for any signs of possible incursions.
Thanks to the combined skills of Tiaan Klenyhans, Peace Parks’ Counter-Poaching Unit Coordinator in Zinave and the Southern African Wildlife College, these rangers are equipped to handle any precarious situation they might find themselves in when on patrol. To get to where they are today, these men had to undergo a gruelling ranger training selection programme, which involved a series of intense physical tests and learning specialised skills such as navigation and firearm training. Out of over a thousand applicants, 200 participants were selected to start the training, and of those, only 34 met the criteria that would allow them to be a part of Zinave’s ranger team.
Apart from checking the fence line, rangers on patrol will also need to scour the bush for snares, respond to any emergencies within the park, help with wildlife monitoring and aerial surveillance, and assist with more administrative tasks such as being on entrance gate duty.
Having a team in place that can be trusted to act in the best interests of the wildlife and the park is crucial to giving animals in Zinave the best possible chance of not only surviving but thriving. Zinave is the most northern park in the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation Area and forms a critical link in an ancient wildlife corridor still being used today. Many elephants, lions and other migratory species travel here, searching for rest, food and water. Peace Parks Foundation is incredibly grateful to these rangers for their hard work, dedication and commitment to helping restore an important piece of southern Africa’s wilderness.