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malawi3opsMalawian ranger Kambanie Masamba and his fellow rangers arrested 81 poachers in just 2 weeks during our last training session. After their phenomenal success he sent the following message.

“You did your part and we did our part, once again thanks!”

The rangers risking their lives on the front line of the poaching war are adept and eager to learn. We have the training they need to do their job safely and successfully. We need you to bring our training to the rangers.
For each 30 day training session we pay for the following:
  • Vehicles and boats for anti-poaching operation
  • Fuel for vehicles
  • Daily rations for trainers and participants
  • Shelter for trainers and participants
  • Airfare and transportation for trainers to/from camp location
  • Trainer pay
  • Printed field guides and other education materials
  • Training supplies when needed: compasses, water bottles, radios
Rory Young, trainer and co-founder of Chengeta Wildlife, has appeared in National Geographic, Yahoo! News, Upworthy, Huffington PostNewsweek, Huffington Post, and again in Newsweek.

Give 5 infographic

Marjet Young#Tag5
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Good, Bad and Ugly

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The good.

  • Rory Young will be coming to the US in September to speak before a crowd of 10,000 in Boston. We are also trying to arrange a TEDxBoston talk for him when he is here.  The speaking engagement was arranged by board member Joe Chernov. I plan to be there to meet Joe, Rory and hopefully Marjet Young.
  • Rory and the rangers he trains are havingmalawi3ops unprecedented success in the bush. Rory has dialed in the time needed to do a proper training session. To do it right we need two weeks of instruction/planning and two weeks of operations with Rory’s guidance. So a typical training session now lasts 30 days and costs around $18,000.
  • Kristen Kurczak Nightingale is an invaluable new addition to Chengeta Wildlife’s board of directors. She is an amazing person and exactly who we need on our team! She first contacted me through our website and said our approach to ending poaching is what has been missing and badly needed. She is extremely knowledgeable about nonprofits and especially nonprofits in Africa. She has traveled extensively throughout Africa and lived there for 10 years.  Kristen has been very generous with her time and expertise. She knows how to gain access to larger foundations and other possible income streams.
  • We are attracting some immensely talented board members. I will do a full post about them soon. Kyle Murao is our new treasurer.
  • Helen Rennie with ALERT has been submitting multiple grant requests for anti-poaching funding. Those requests take a lot of effort and organization. She does them with good cheer and is always supportive of my paltry efforts.
  • Jamie Joseph is an environmentalist and a writer for Africa Geographic,Huffington Post, Virgin Unite and other media sites including her This week she will begin covering Rory’s reports from our training camps. We will be gaining a great deal of publicity for our work through Jamie’s coverage.
  • Some other amazing things are in the works, but I can’t announce those just yet so stay tuned for more.


The bad.

  • Our bank account is empty. I messed up. I let too much time pass between our first two crowdfunding campaigns. In our first year we had two major campaigns, but I have learned we should probably have three per year.
  • We were hoping the US Fish and Wildlife Service would help out with some grant funding, but I received an email from them last Thursday denying our request.
  • I owe Rory $2,300 in back pay for the training session that ended in March. When the current session is over on May 6th I will owe him an additional $6,000. Rory insists that any funding shortfall comes out of his trainer fees. The rangers must have supplies, vehicles and fuel. He won’t cut back on those.


The Ugly.

  • Our lack of funds couldn’t have come at a worse time. The Youngs are moving to the Netherlands in May. Rory’s sweet wife Marjet is under a great deal of stress. While Rory is away she is getting everything ready for the move overseas, packing up, deciding what stays or goes, trying to sell their vehicle and furniture, searching for good homes for their pets in Zimbabwe and finding a new place for the family to call home.
  • Last week both of their kids were hospitalized with severe gastrointestinal distress. They were given meds and IV fluids overnight. They are back home now and doing fine.
  • Rory’s father is hospitalized with a terminal illness and has been given only weeks to live.
  • Rory has received serious threats and harassment because of our successful anti-poaching work. More on this later. (I so wish his wife and kids could get on a plane and leave tomorrow.)

I promise we are doing all we can to line up funding from larger organizations so we don’t have to lean on you guys so much in the future. That said, if you have any amount that you could donate, I would be forever grateful.

We have set up an easy new way to donate through our partners at ALERT.
Supporters in the UK can text APTR05 to 70070 to give £5
or text APTR10 to 70070 to give £10.
(APTR stands for Anti-Poaching TRaining.)

US donors can text any donation amount to (415) 319-6494. The first time you will have to fill in the bare minimum of information. In the future you can donate by simply texting the amount you would like to give to the number above.

Or donate any amount at

Marjet YoungGood, Bad and Ugly
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Just Getting Started

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Written by Rory Young –

malawi3markerKeep watching this space… Forty four arrests in last twenty four hours! And fifty five in the last forty eight! That has to be some sort of record…

In the beautiful National Reserve where I am currently doing in ops training of Malawi DNPW rangers we are trying to make as big of an impact as possible, as quickly as possible and on as many illegal activities as possible.

The illegal activities range from elephant hunting to marijuana growing to timber harvesting.

The individuals undertaking these crimes are often linked to each other and are aggressive. For example, nearly all the poaching in the area is done with firearms and the weed growers have been shooting at anyone who comes near their isolated area for years.

Making so many arrests in such a short time without a single fatality or injury to either our officers or the criminals is something we are proud of. I do believe that if we had been shooting first and asking questions later that we would have dealt with only a fraction of this number and would have almost certainly sustained casualties.

We still have almost two weeks to go and intend to keep up the momentum. Again, watch this space…

This work is funded by Thank you to all those who donate to Chengeta.

The organizing is done by

The technical skills, doctrine and trainer are provided by

The picture shows a ranger returning from a successful ambush of an entry point. The poachers brazenly advertised the route to each other by the grass that can be seen tied to the tree. (We did thank them profusely for providing us with that information after we arrested them…)

[email protected]Just Getting Started
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Stunning Success


Written by Rory Young – These thirty-odd menrorymalawiteam have just finished making 33 arrests during the in-operation portion of their advanced anti poaching and anti trafficking training organized and funded by and in Liwonde National Park in Malawi.

To put that in perspective, they have made the same number of arrests of poachers and traffickers in just two weeks, with just two old vehicles and one old boat, as the whole of the hugely funded and massively equipped Kruger National Park does in one month with all of its drones, helicopters, army and air force support.

The officers are given the knowledge, skills and strategies to continue the work long after we leave.

The group’s arrest rate is equivalent to forty times that of the average Kenya Wildlife Service protected area.

We are only just getting started. We will be continuing our work through all the protected areas of Malawi in our partnership with the Malawi Department of National Parks and Wildlife as well as other countries. The officers are given the knowledge, skills and strategies to continue the work long after we leave.

Thank you to all those whose financial and other support has allowed us to do this work.

Please support the men and women achieving the most success with the very least, in the war to protect our rhinos and elephants. This project is entirely funded through private donations.

We can win this war!

Marjet YoungStunning Success
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Hello Mr. Poacher…

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Rory Young shared this photo of a poacher’s tracks.

poacher tracksJust to prove that I have been paying attention to Rory’s tracking lessons, I will tell you what I can about the person who made the tracks.

From the large size I think that a man left these prints. Also male because the toes are close together. Women’s toes are typically more spread apart.

His toes are not digging in so I think he is walking and not running or jogging. Though for someone walking his stride is quite long, that tells me that he has long legs. So probably a tall man.

I know he is very fit with not much fat on his body because his straddle is extremely tight. Straddle is the side-to-side width of his feet from each other. An unfit person will usually carry fat on the inside of their thighs and that will make their straddle wider.

He is not carrying a heavy load. If he was carrying something heavy his toes would dig in more, his straddle would be wider and stride would be shorter.

If there was a measuring stick next to one of his feet showing the exact length of his footprint I could give you his approximate height.

So we have a tall fit man, walking confidently along with no clue that rangers are on his trail. Either he is a foolish man or he has been doing his poaching with no fear of reprisal for too long, because he is leaving a very clear trail in a sandy area making no attempt to conceal his tracks.

The second photo shows the arrested poacher poacher and sonsand his two sons. Rory explained that while one of them was putting out the fish traps, shown in the photo, the other was setting snares and gin traps in the bush. The youngest was their lookout.

(I have told Rory that if we ever walk together in the bush I will be jumping from rock to rock and will drag a big leafy branch behind me so he won’t know all my secrets.)   🙂

Marjet YoungHello Mr. Poacher…
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#TBT – Lightning Strikes!

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Rory Young – I guess for the last year my “go-to story” has sort of followed me around as everyone heard about it and wanted to hear it first hand, maybe see if I was psychic or glowing..

Central Africa has the highest incidence of lightning strikes in the world  and I have spent most of my life outdoors in Central and Southern Africa, often caught in storms. If you look at the World Lightning Strikes Map below, I live in the nastiest patch in the middle..africalightning


Mount Chimanimani

I have had many close or unpleasant experiences. I remember vividly being caught in a lightning storm on top “Turret Towers” , the highest point on Mount Chimanimani  on the Mozambique-Zimbabwe border. The storm came in just as we reached the top. We stripped off our packs, watches and any other metal and squeezed ourselves into crevices. The lightning repeatedly hammered the rocks above us. It was deafening, terrifying and magnificent.

Many times I have run for cover in the bush and joked with others that they would be number 300 not me (a reference to the daily newspaper lightning death toll).

I have always been careful and not taken any chances.

So imagine my surprise when, in the middle of the night, I got out of bed to close a lounge window and was struck by bloody lightning..

It was raining heavily and I was snug as a bug when I suddenly remembered that the lounge window was open. So I went to close it.

The floor and the wall were drenched. I had to open the gauze window inwards whilst leaning against the wet wall and standing in the puddle. Holding it with one hand I reached out and grasped the handle of the other window. The windows and frame, it turned out, were not earthed and neither was the roof. As I held them I was effectively standing holding up a lightning conductor.

There was a flash and it felt like every cell in my body had exploded individually. I flew back across the room.


My wife heard it happen and came running from the bedroom and found me standing shaking with my mouth open and staring fixedly at my arms. I had them stretched out in front of me. I remember the reason for this well. I was amazed that they were still there. Just before I lifted them I had been certain they were gone.

I had a stiff scotch and a painkiller and started to feel a bit better. I couldn’t believe how lucky I was. After a while I felt incredibly tired so went to bed.

In the morning I felt a bit odd but otherwise fine, so I went for a run. I had planned to do an 18km run with my little club that morning and didn’t want to let the side down. So, against my dear wife’s objections I went and ran.

The run started out okay but by the end it felt as though my eyes and ears were deceiving me. It was as if what I heard and saw and thought were out of sync. Afterwards I was tired again and went to bed. I slept 14 hours.

I woke up with an excruciating migraine and painful eyes. I was up for a few hours and then went to bed again and slept deeply for another 16 hours. When I woke up my head and eyes were so painful I could hardly move. A Russian doctor friend who had heard about it told me to listen to my lovely wife and get me to a hospital as often the symptoms came later.

At the hospital they did an EKG on my heart and told me it was all over the place. My potassium level was through the roof. There was a scare for a while until I was eventually given the all clear by an excellent cardiologist who told me I was extremely lucky to be alive (don’t need to be a cardiologist to figure that bit out). I had a bunch of further tests and continued to suffer a permanent migraine and photosensitivity for months. Eventually the pain subsided and after about nine months my eyes were back to normal.

Other side effects were an inability to talk to people, I battled to handle conversation, it was as though I couldn’t differentiate between the different voices and other sounds around me; they all came at once. I slept for 16 hours a day easily. A really strange side-effect was that my blood-sugar went from borderline diabetic to normal and has stayed that way ever since.

It is now just over a year and I am back to normal and getting properly fit again.

I am shit-scared of lightning.

Marjet Young#TBT – Lightning Strikes!
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Rangers Ambushed


After making arrests in a notorious poaching roryinjuredmanbase last night we ran into a series of ambushes quickly set up by digging trenches and throwing logs across the road. Several hundred men attacked at different points as we were forced to clear the road.
Unfortunately one of the rangers was hit in the eyes by flying glass.
He is in the emergency ward now. Please keep him in your thoughts.

rorydamaged vehicle

Marjet YoungRangers Ambushed
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Female AP Rangers

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Here are three of the anti poaching rangers participating in the advanced wildlife protection in ops training taking place in Liwonde National Park.roryfemales

The training is funded and organized by Chengeta Wildlife and ALERT under the auspices of the Malawi Department of National Parks and Wildlife.

One of these ladies is giving the men a run for their money in terms of physical fitness, able to perform more pull ups, sit ups and push ups than many of the men. All of these women are hard workers and are showing admirable dedication. This training is tough and the operations are exhausting and often dangerous.

Women can and do play a crucial role in all aspects of operations, including under cover work, tracking, apprehension and everything else. In many areas they are more adept than men and provide valuable and different insights and perspectives.

They are treated as equals and with respect by the men and are fiercely proud of what they do. The men are also very proud of them.

I will try to keep the short updates and non security sensitive insights coming.

Thank you for your continued support.

Rory Young

Marjet YoungFemale AP Rangers
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