Great Plains Foundation Ranger's Oratile Beula: An Anti-Poaching Ranger & Wildlife Guide
The Great Plains Foundation is committed to providing long-term solutions to the threats faced by poachers and unsustainable tourist practices. Here are the top five ways to minimise your impact on the landscape and aid conservation initiatives across Kenya, Zimbabwe and Botswana, as told by experienced ranger Oratile Beula.
1) Be the Future – Educate Communities
Teaching communities and young generations the importance of conservation, protection and preservation of wildernesses and wildlife is essential in preventing poaching. By doing so, the up-and-coming generations will grow up respecting wilderness and its value hence leaving the areas to continue accommodating wildlife (rhinos etc). Teaching those around you about conservation and the importance of wild areas and their inhabitants is something that you can do each day. Whether it is interacting with your family or friends, colleagues, or clients – each person is someone that you can transfer your knowledge, love and respect onto. Instilling in your children the need for the preservation of natural resources is an easy top tip! Children are our planet’s future and having them understand the importance of these wild spaces is vital. Be the future by investing in it!
2) Always Be Knowledgeable
Rangers should be knowledgeable of the animals we look after and protect; gestation period, life span, habitat preferences, food and water sources, so that we can be able to interpret any change that animals pose and analyse if there is any problem, changed behaviour due to any threat ... (poaching). Also, be knowledgeable about your area and who is working with you from guides to lodge managers to other ranger groups. A guide must know the conservation professionals working in the area, know who to report the sighting to in government or be able to take the information that is essential for reporting the sighting as soon as they are able to: i.e., photos, location, time and other details associated with the sightings.
3) Always Be Alert
In all areas of operation as a ranger I should be always alert and vigilant, use all senses and environmental analysis skills in order to recognise anything that could be shown by the animals that there could be poachers in the area – so that if so that can be reported to relevant security prior to any damage. Spotting human tracks, dog tracks, pieces of rubbish, bushes tied together, is essential and often the first step in discovering poachers are in an area. Do not make assumptions that whoever it was, was there on a legal basis and should be left to go about their business.
4) Be Consistent
The only way to break a bad habit is by creating a good one to break the cycle! To prevent poaching or illegal activities, each action to break the link and disrupt the chain of events is crucial. A burglar is very unlikely to break into a property where the alarm is working all the time, the security guard is never sleeping and always patrolling, and where all the windows are always closed securely. It is always a sign of weakness or a gap in the system that attracts criminals to act. Be consistent in your efforts to prevent illegal wildlife crime.
5) Have True Passion & Pride
True Passion is very vital to me in protecting wildlife. The attachment and love of the animals and the job contributes to less poaching incidents because I preach conservation and protection as a way of life and take my job very seriously. BE PROUD of where you are and know the responsibility that everyone working in these spaces has to preserve and protect those areas that we work in. As you step into these spaces allow the responsibility that the privilege brings with it. I encourage many females in Africa and the world to join hands and join the industry of rangers to help look after wildlife threatened by poaching, so that in future the continent will still have wildlife to show to the future generations without shame of telling how poaching has lost all that we had.... Any female who is determined and willing to transverse the African wildernesses by foot, car, boat or air to help look after our wildlife is highly welcome. Make a commitment today to be the future, be consistent, be knowledgeable, be alert and be disciplined to preventing poaching and illegal wildlife activities around you. Be proud of your privilege to be in any wild spaces and hold firm on the responsibility you have just being there.