Wildlife poaching is big business and rhino horn worth more than gold. The only thing standing between South Africa’s animals and possible extinction is a new breed of anti-poaching rangers. They come from a wide range of backgrounds, but they have one thing in common – they are prepared to lay their lives on the line for Africa’s wildlife.
Editor’s note: This series was originally broadcast in 2013.
One final challenge awaits the trainee rangers – a 25km run in stifling heat. If they do not make it, they fail the entire course. But working as a team, the six remaining trainees all finish.
Upon completing the course Freddie says: “I have never been acknowledged for anything in my life. It was an amazing feeling.”
To patrol against the poachers is dangerous. If you are not careful, they will kill you.
Those who can, go home for a few days. Gerald’s father is worried that the rangers’ job is too dangerous and offers some advice and encouragement:
“To patrol against the poachers is dangerous. If you are not careful, they will kill you. You must not relax. Not one time. But we are poor. Thank you, my son, for working.”
Lunga and Lionel make the long journey back to the Eastern Cape in southern South Africa. Both men are determined to continue working as wildlife rangers.
“I do not want to sit around and waste time. My brain and blood are churning because now I need to get the job I have trained for … helping the animals,” Lunga says.
In the north, the team goes straight to the frontline, a reserve where four rhinos have recently been poached. Within minutes they are on the trail of fresh poacher tracks.