- Who We Are
- Our Work
- How You Can Help
- Contact Us
Written by Rory Young –
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 chengetawildlife.org Thank you to all those who donate to Chengeta.
The organizing is done by lionalert.org
The technical skills, doctrine and trainer are provided by ttoscorp.com
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…)
Written by Rory Young – These thirty-odd men have just finished making 33 arrests during the in-operation portion of their advanced anti poaching and anti trafficking training organized and funded by chengetawildlife.org and lionalert.org 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!
Elephants are being slaughtered in unprecedented numbers and if it continues experts predict they will be extinct in the wild within 20 years. They are killed for their ivory tusks. This ivory isn’t used to create anything necessary, it is used to flaunt wealth. Elephants are being slaughtered out of existence so the ignorant rich can say, “Look what I have! See how wealthy I am?”
“The illegal trade threatens to wipe out the natural endowment of affected nations by depriving future generations of their heritage, and of their right to develop those resources in legitimate ways. Ladies and gentlemen, it is wrong that children growing up in countries vulnerable to wildlife crime are losing their birthright in order to fuel the greed of international criminals, and that those children will face greater hardship and insecurity as this crime traps them in poverty.” The Duke of Cambridge’s speech on the illegal wildlife trade at the World Bank, Washington D.C., USA
“Indeed, it suits traffickers that areas rich in natural resources remain under-developed or conflict-ridden, so that they can go on plundering without restriction.”
Wildlife rangers — who tend to be incredibly knowledgeable about their environment and the ways of animals, but less so about infantry tactics — are wading into the bush to confront hardened soldiers.
Rory Young instructs the rangers of Malawi on how to stay safe while apprehending heavily armed poachers.
To Richard Ruggiero, the situation is nothing short of the genocide of an animal that mourns its dead, loves its young and suffers emotionally.”I am convinced many, if not most, know that people are trying to kill every last one of them and that they emotionally suffer because of it, and I can see it in their behavior,” he said. “I am sure that they feel that and that they know it. That people are committing a genocide on them, and most of them even know it’s for their teeth.”
Chengeta Wildlife is a nonprofit run by volunteers. We give free anti-poaching training to rangers all over the African continent. We teach them how to safely apprehend poachers and traffickers of wildlife products. Click on this link if you would like to learn more or donate to our current fundraiser.
The theory phase has been amazing. From Director General level down to AP team leaders, from all over Guinea, the work is being taken very seriously and the discussions have been animated and indicate a high level of motivation and the determination to make the most of the opportunity.
I have been impressed and touched by never ending thank you’s and requests for advice on numerous ops plans and other AP initiatives.
Still three weeks to go, including practical and intensive in-ops phases. Thereafter, these participants will go out and pass on the training immediately to another three hundred officers. It is clear that the impact of this training on poaching in all protected areas of Guinea will be massive.
I am delighted to also hear that the training will be used to create well protected green zones as quickly as possible for the safe reintroduction of species such as elephant and lion! Go Guinea!
Lisa Groeneweg has gone so far beyond what could ever be expected or hoped for by someone like me in terms of dedicated support and tireless effort and sacrifice.
Thank you also to Lion ALERT for working tirelessly behind the scenes to make sure it happens. David Youldon has ensured that our efforts are coordinated, managed and arranged professionally and without complaint and edited the field manual and so much more for no reward or recognition. This has been a model partnership between organizations, individuals and governments.
I have already been asked to return asap to advise on ops as they are planned and executed. How can we say no folks? It is so important to support a people trying hard to get it right. Guinea will reap the rewards for this effort in the future and I hope gain a reputation for much more than just the place where Ebola started.
In addition we have provided the departments and units with practical and objective field manuals, SOP’s and modules for further training and to ensure the skills are passed on as quickly and thoroughly as possible.
In the final minutes he discusses the time he was shot at when crossing from Central African Republic into Cameroon.
Give it a listen over the weekend. The sound quality is a bit rough for short periods, but recovers quickly.
Let’s be honest; Malawi has been hit harder by poaching than many countries. However, although one of the poorest countries in Africa, it is also known for its friendly, hard-working and peaceful people. It has been known for many years as “The Warm Heart Of Africa”, a title that suits the beautiful place perfectly.
I was fortunate to live in Malawi as a child. I remember clearly the first time I tried to track lions on my own. I was eleven years old and a pride had passed along the river that ran along the bottom of my aunt’s garden on their farm North of Mzuzu, close to the Tanzanian border.
“Farm” was hardly an apt description, although they did grow tobacco. My cousins and I spent our days chasing around the bush looking for animals and playing with the children from the local villages. There were a variety of pets, including a four-foot African rock python, two tiny grysbok deer, a duiker, a crazy African Wild Cat, amongst other orphaned creatures that constantly came and went.
I had spotted the lion tracks while looking for snakes with a couple of Tumbuka kids and, whilst I had decided that it would be a damn fine idea to follow them, my friends declared me mad and left. So, off I went.
Fortunately for me I didn’t catch up to the lions before it started getting too late and I was forced to turn back and head home. Thank goodness I did or I most likely would not be writing this now. Anyone who has seen a lion’s reaction to just a child’s voice from a game-drive vehicle, or when seeing them through a fence, will know how appealing children are to them, in the worst possible way..
I have many vivid memories of Malawi from my childhood, some sad and many happy. One thing I will never forget is the majestic beauty of the place and the stunning diversity of habitats and animals. From montane forests, to the magnificent lake, to the teeming wildlife. Where in the world could an eleven year old come across lion tracks at the bottom of the garden on the banks of a wild river with gorgeous mountains rising up behind?
The wildlife no longer exists along that river, or anywhere in that district.
I saw a poacher for the very first time in Malawi. He was driving a truck loaded with skins and meat past my uncle’s property across the border into Tanzania. I remember the ivory carvers who openly plied their trade on the main street of Blantyre. Even with those signs, I would never in my childhood have imagined the terrible scourge that would obliterate the once mighty herds of elephants that roamed freely.
Many countries in Africa are in this situation, but Malawi is different in some important ways. It is saying no to poaching and taking a real stand. Firstly, the country needs tourism, 60% of the country’s foreign currency earnings. There are no diamonds, there is no gold, and there is little local industry. Tourism is one of the few ways for the country to earn sorely needed foreign currency.
Secondly, the country and its parks are relatively small. They are not gigantic areas that have just been left to themselves. They can be effectively protected more easily than some of the massive wildlife areas in neighbouring countries that would require legions of rangers to patrol them.
Thirdly, and most importantly, it has the political will. The government, at the highest levels, actually wants to put a stop to poaching, and to teach its people the importance of wildlife. The country recently decided to included teaching in its schools on the importance of wildlife and the reasons that poaching is wrong. Incredible.
I recently conducted a training course for the heads of the anti-poaching units for all the parks in the country. At the passing out parade the minister of tourism stood up to make his speech. I almost fell over when I heard it. He openly and honestly listed the failings of his country in the past to protect its wildlife, even listing the decline in numbers of key species. That was nothing though.. he then announced that we had uncovered a couple of rangers involved in poaching, something we were of course keeping secret from the outside world, and he told the gathered crowd that they would be made an example of and shown “no mercy”. Wow, after all my years in wildlife and conservation and running around this continent, this was the first time I ever heard a politician speak like this. I was then asked to step forward as he would like to thank me personally for my work and for the support and work of the organizations that paid for and arranged me to be there, Chengeta Wildlife and Lion ALERT.
He shook my hand, and, looking me straight in the eye, he said, “Please tell your colleagues that we do not take this for granted and we are going to show the world that we can win this”.
I train rangers to locate and arrest poachers and traffickers. Usually it is pretty thankless work and one often has to fight frustration and even depression because of the lack of support and the apathy of governments and even the men, but most especially the public and the leaders. This government however is determined to win and the rangers themselves are second to none.
I heard as a child the stories of the brave men of the King’s African Rifles fighting the Japanese in Asia. Nyasaland as Malawi was known in those days was renowned for the bravery and dedication of the soldiers who originated there and served in the two battalions raised by the British to fight in far away places. I have seen for myself why the Malawians were so sought after. They are tough, they are determined, they are hard working and they are brave. They also have an amazing sense of humour, which invariably shows itself when most needed to raise spirits. They may be poor in some ways but when it comes to spirit they are amongst the wealthiest.
Malawi doesn’t have money for drones and helicopters. They have realised they have to be clever they have to be willing to do what is necessary, and that is what they are doing. Working with the communities, they have a “revenue sharing system” which gives 25% of revenues from the park to the communities around the area.
During the recent training we actually took down a whole poaching syndicate, with buyers and traffickers and identified several others in their entirety. Rarely do you hear of such successes in countries with much better equipment and funding.
The difference is this; everybody at all levels in the Malawi Department of National Parks and Wildlife is determined to win. From the Minister down to the Director and on down to the men on the ground. There are a few bad eggs but they will be dealt with “mercilessly”, I have no doubt; and those wonderful rangers are going to carry on arresting poachers.
Why? Because they have the support of their leaders, they are good, brave, determined men and they are willing to learn from others how to get it done.
Thank you Chengeta Wildlife and Lion ALERT for making it all possible.
Edna Molewa is the acting president of South Africa while President Jacob Zuma is attending the US – Africa Leaders Summit. She is South Africa’s Minister of Environmental Affairs.
— Edna Molewa (@BEMolewa) August 2, 2014
A huge THANK YOU to Joe Chernov, Robin Richards and Leslie Bradshaw for creating the infographic below for Rory Young and Chengeta Wildlife!
Please share our new infographic with any media contacts you have and everywhere on social media!
We can now purchase an electronic (PDF) copy of the Anti-Poaching Manual! 50% of each sale will directly fund our training sessions.
Congratulations to Rory Young, Quora’s newest author!
Our partners at ALERT will be handling the book sales. Please follow the link to their page, given below. They have payment options listed on the bottom of the page.
Sponsor Anti-Poaching Unit Training – ALERT
At last!! The first manual dedicated to anti-poaching is now available.
Written by Rory Young and Yakov Alekseyev, not only does it lay out a desperately needed clear, comprehensive and thorough approach, but finally the ranger in the field has a complete guide to refer to; from investigations, to pursuit, to apprehension, to prosecution and everything in between.
50% of all proceeds from the sale of this book will go directly to fund anti-poaching unit training.
A Field Manual for Anti-Poaching Activities is the most comprehensive, intelligent and pragmatic doctrine ever devised to bring the practice of poaching under control. Further, this doctrine utilises existing local resources and personnel with objective and low-cost solutions.
It has been developed by Rory Young, a professional tracker of 25 years’ experience with security professionals with experience in investigations, special operations, law enforcement, and S.W.A.T. training doctrines. Their combined experience has created a doctrine capable of tackling poaching at the market, in transit and on the ground.
You did wonders and really saved the day for us Ellen, through the very large donation that you and Mike made and through your efforts to gather support for Chengeta.
Here is a small message of thanks and a little surprise for you: