GET INVOLVED in sustaining the ongoing work around anti-poaching.


Security has in recent years become an integral part of the global conservation industry

While rhino, elephant and lion usually make news headlines, they are definitely not the only species in danger of poaching. Everything from reptiles and beetles to tiny succulent plants and enormous
forest trees are at risk. The reasons behind poaching are just as numerous. It could be for fallacious medicinal potions such as with rhino horn, for status like with ivory and also rhino horn, or simply collectors wanting to own a rare or unusual looking plant. Regardless of the reason, safeguarding these threatened plants, animals and natural resources is critical.

well-disciplined and focused field rangers on the reserve

Sanbona’s Anti Poaching Unit (APU) started out small, but as poaching threats increased across Africa a community outreach project was launched to grow and strengthen the force. The vision was to train local youths from the surrounding community to be well-disciplined and focused field rangers on the reserve. At the same time, this would empower them with skilled job opportunities and enable them to provide for their families. To date, two additional and extensive community initiatives have been launched since the establishment of the Anti Poaching Unit – one in 2016 and the other in 2019.

With each recruitment drive over 400 applicants were interviewed, and of these about 150 were invited to participate in a pre-selection event. The participants were required to be mentally and physically fit and strong, disciplined and punctual, along with having a strong desire to be committed to Sanbona’s conservation efforts. After the three-week selection process, only the toughest and fittest candidates made it to the next round and progressed to Field Ranger training. Only on completion of the final leg of extensive in-field operations, do the candidates join the Sanbona Wildlife Reserve Anti-poaching Unit. 

protectING threatened species

Training, operations and development is ongoing to constantly hone bush and military skills, animal behaviour knowledge and tracking skills, as well as Special Operations duties.  

This recruitment process was thorough, arduous and expensive. It’s a huge investment into a skilled and able team, their protective gear and logistical support, all with the immediate goal of being well prepared to protect threatened species – both plant and animal.


support and enhance security operations 

Complementing this investment in boots on the ground, is the effective use of specialised technology to support and enhance security operations. Funding is being sought to further develop this critical component of the reserve’s security.

Great strides have been made to ensure the very best tailor-made security solutions for Sanbona, to ensure the massive conservation efforts made so far are not compromised. Not now or ever.



Photo: Chelee Brown