Today we salute our Cobra Rangers that are on the frontline protecting our precious wildlife.
Being a Cobra Ranger means a lot of things; firstly you come from Mlevu Ward in Tsholotsho District and your home village is within a short walk of Hwange National Park. Secondly, you’ve had at least 18 months of training but more likely four years. Thirdly, you’re part of the hot shot team that guards the Community Rhino Conservation Initiative’s first two white rhino Thuza and Kusasa – 24/7. The first two white rhino reintroduced to the Hwange ecosystem in 20 years and the first white rhinos reintroduced onto community land in Zimbabwe, for the benefit not only of rhino conservation but also the communities that live next to Hwange National Park.
A typical Cobra Ranger’s day involves 12 hours of active duty; separated into two shifts of close quarter guarding, one at night one in the day, and two more shifts of duty on the Quick Reaction Force (QRF). When you’re on duty, you’ll be doing clearance patrols, electric fence checks, supplementary rhino feeding, close quarter guarding, talks to school kids and guiding both school tours and Imvelo’s guests in to see and experience our wonderful celebrity white rhino.
On top of all that, even during your down time you’re still a Cobra and you’re expected to keep your boots and rifle close. In your ‘off duty’ hours you’re expected to keep yourself physically fit to ensure a good pass on monthly Personal Fit
ness Assessment; you’re expected to spend time weapons training; cleaning weapons; charging radio and flashlight batteries; you’re expected to do your laundry and shine your boots too - and somewhere in there sleep enough so you’re wide awake during those long night shifts on guard.
Being World Ranger's Day today, we’d like to tip our hats to our Cobras Community Wildlife Protection Unit, and tonight whilst we’re warm and dry in our beds let’s all spare a thought for our Cobra Rangers, out there on a frosty Hwange night in July, on foot with their rifles in hand, one eye on their wards and one eye scanning the woods, deliberately putting themselves in harm’s way between the Rhinos and the bad guys, guarding not only their rhinos but their communities’ futures too.
Contact us for more information on the CRCI project.