Black Mambas Anti Poaching Unit

The Black Mambas are the world's first all-female anti-poaching unit. They are 36 young African women who patrol 20,000 hectares of the Balule Nature Reserve, part of the Greater Kruger National Park, South Africa. Kruger is home to the largest population of rhino in the world and also is victim to more poaching attacks than any other area.

These women, with a passion for wildlife and rhino conservation, are also the voice in the community through their conservation work. The objectives of the Black Mambas is not only the protection of rhinos through boots on the ground and a presence on the frontline, but also through being a role model in their communities. They want their communities to understand that there are far greater benefits to them through rhino conservation rather than poaching.

Black mambas anti poaching unit
Mambas on Patrol


The Black Mambas operate in the Greater Kruger National Park an area worse hit by rhino poaching than any other place in the world. There can be up to 11 different poaching 'gangs' at any one time operating in the Greater Kruger area, so the Black Mambas play a vital role in early detections.

The Black Mambas' area of operation is surrounded by very large communities and it is these communities that many of the poachers are recruited from. The Mambas work in the local community is an important part of their role.


The Black Mambas have achieved a 63% reduction in poaching incidents in their area of operation since being formed. The Mambas walk 20km every day, checking the perimeter fences for signs of incursions. Unarmed, the Mambas are backed up by the armed patrol units if signs of poaching activity is discovered.

A lot of focus has been placed on recovering wire snares that have been laid, often as part of the bush meat poaching 'industry' with the area now rarely targeted by gangs leaving snares. It is proven that many bush meat poachers will progress to the poaching of endangered species.

The Black Mambas also deliver engaging conservation education to local schools through their thriving Bush Babies outreach programme. Thousands of local children benefit from weekly classes on conservation, with many enjoying an annual visit to the Reserve to experience first-hand the conservation of wildlife and how it impacts life in their communities.


Mambas on Patrol

Working in Partnership

Helping Rhinos is a proud partner of the Black Mambas. The deployment of women from the local community to a typically male dominated environment is a truly innovative approach to wildlife conservation. Since 2017 Helping Rhinos has proudly been the largest single contributor to the work of the Black Mambas.

Helping Rhinos run the 'Sponsor a Black Mamba' programme in collaboration with the Black Mambas.

Together our achievements include:

  • A 63% reduction in poaching within the Black Mambas' area of operation
  • Communications technology essential for the patrol teams to remain in contact with the HQ and Operations team
  • Provision of food and water for the patrol teams
  • Provision of uniforms for the patrol teams
  • Support with day to day operational costs, vital to keep the teams active in the areas known to be poaching hotspots
  • Provision of educational material for the Bush Babies education outreach programme

Support the work of the Black Mambas



can help pay for

Essential food and medication for a rhino orphan



can help pay for

Community programmes that improve livelihoods



can help pay for

 Training of anti-poaching teams and tracking dogs


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