The Honorary Rangers: The Unsung Heroes Who Help Fight Rhino Poaching

Rhino poaching is a serious problem in South Africa — so serious that these prehistoric animals are in imminent danger of extinction. 13 rhino were killed for their horns in 2007, a number which rose to an astonishing 1,215 in 2014. There are currently believed to be about 29,000 rhinos left in Africa, down from 70,000 in 1970.

Kruger National Park, which is home to 90% of the world’s rhino population, is also where most of the poaching occurs. The park is larger in area than the Netherlands, is not developed, has few roads, and shares a border with Mozambique, all of which make it difficult to patrol.

Yet hundreds of rangers risk their lives every day to save the rhinos. Literally. As poachers get more bold and more heavily armed, the chance of rangers getting involved in armed contact with them has risen from 2% to 40-60% over the last few years. Without the correct training and equipment, their task would be impossible.

Which is where the Honorary Rangers come in. This group of passionate volunteers supports the hundreds of rangers working in Kruger, and in South Africa’s 21 other national parks. There are over 1,300 South African National Parks (SANParks) Honorary Rangers based in 31 regions around the country.

No public money is used to run the volunteers’ activities — they are entirely supported by donations. Every cent donated is used to fund training, counter-poaching or other identified projects, and to supply vital equipment such as backpacks, tents, GPS units, and night vision equipment.

The short film below, which was released today, illustrates the vital work these unsung heroes do in the counter-poaching unit based in Kruger. The five-minute documentary is a joint venture between Black Bean Productions, a Cape Town-based film company, and the SANParks Honorary Rangers of South Africa.

The film, called “From the Frontline: Saving Our Rhino,” was made to raise awareness and provide necessary funding for the Honorary Rangers. If you are inspired by the film, consider making a donation online by clicking here.


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