Notes from an Anti-Poaching Ranger..
"It is a strange feeling walking on the tracks of planet earth’s apex predator. At any stage it could be your life or his. There is a definite heightening of the senses. Every leaf that rustles, or twig that snaps, could mean the end. Imagine the feeling of relief one gets when you realise the noise that made every hair on your body stand on end came from a harmless rhino, elephant or buffalo. One of the very species you are here to protect.
The predator you are after, is something a lot more dangerous than these majestic creatures. He is as smart as you, as fast as you and at the moment he has the upper hand. As I am looking down at his tracks, I know he could have is eyes set upon me. Just a minute on his track, can feel like a lifetime. It’s here where the line starts to blur, as to who is the hunter and who is the hunted.
This is what every ranger experiences when tracking a poacher. It is the dark reality of what it takes to protect our precious wildlife.
When one adds up the risk versus reward, the maths is clear; no reward is worth your life. Then why do we find ourselves in the bush, day after day putting our lives on the line?
It is my firm belief that there is no logical answer to this question. Someone has to stand up for these animals and say enough is enough, no matter what the cost. We have to fight for that, which is good!" Dr. Pieter Engelbrecht.