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to make my new life as a Ranger. Before I did not have any work and my mother has also been struggling looking for work to try support our family. I never knew my father so my mother was the most important person in my family. Now I have work and also a new passion and love for protecting animals and especially the Rhinos that are being poached. The training has given me direction in life and discipline so that I know I can work towards getting rank and building myself up within the company. The Bisbee’s Fish & Wildlife Conservation Fund helps me support my mother and fix her house as it is old and the roof leaks. We will not have to struggle like we were doing in the past. BCF: How did you hear about the Ranger Program? Lucky Mabela: I heard about it at my church as I had managed to get work at power station that is still being built but the money was not very good and many workers were losing their jobs. Many workers there no longer have jobs, we were all told at church that there is another job possibility at NTTA. BCF: What was it that attracted you to this particular program? Lucky Mabela: At the time I had no work and jobs are very difficult to find in my area. Many men in my area become poachers for lack of work here. My mother and I were struggling and I was desperate to find good work. BCF: What was life like prior to this program? Lucky Mabela: It was very difficult, I had some work at the power plan but was only a part time job and I have been struggling to find a job that is full time and permanent. My mother is getting a small pension but this is not enough to feed us, repair the house and be able to live properly. BCF: How did you earn money to support yourself and your family? Lucky Mabela: I am the 2nd oldest and we struggled finding work anywhere doing piece jobs to try and earn a little money. There are no jobs available and everyone in my village is struggling. We are 6 children and my mother struggled to support us all. And most of my brothers and sisters no longer live near my village. BCF: Is the training difficult and do you think it is worthwhile? Lucky Mabela: The training was very hard but I was desperate and worked hard to try and be the best in our group. Discipline is taught to us and we learned to work as a team and to survive all the training from the beginning. If I had not had the opportunity to do the training it would not have been possible for me to become a Ranger and find good work. Now I can support my mother and family and I hope my brothers will also have the opportunity to find work and we can live without struggling. This wildlife Ranger work is difficult and with the training it teaches us how to be strong and deal with all the problems that we must sort out in the bush, it is our country and we must protect the animals. BCF: Do you think the program will benefit you and how? Lucky Mabela: My Ranger job is very important looking after the wildlife, if we cannot look after these animals then we will not have work. I have learned a lot and I now understand that it’s the survival of the animals that actually provides us with work. If all our Rhino are gone what work will we do and if there are very few animals there will also be very few jobs. It helps me to help others, support my family and look after the wildlife. I can now send money to my mother and help her fix her house. BCF: What would you say are the top 3 things that we need to do in order to reverse the Rhino poaching, in other words what is most effective? Lucky Mabela: We were taught in training that the it is the Ranger that will keep the Rhino safe from the poachers, without us and carrying a firearm and patrolling the Rhino poaching will not stop. Many landowners here do not care for their Rhino and it is at these places that the poachers go and kill Rhino. The Rhino lives in the bush and the Ranger must also go live with the Rhino to keep them safe, a Ranger cannot sleep in a house as the Rhino will not be safe, it is like parking your car outside your fence at night, it will get stolen, it must be next to you to keep it safe. We are taught that by us patrolling and keeping Rhino safe will keep our jobs safe, we have a big responsibility and must all work together. I see that when the workers and people see us in the bush with the firearm that they will be scared, if they see no Rangers they will go inside the property and poach the Rhino. This government has other problems and does not protect the Rhino and we must do like they do in other parts of Africa, we need to make the poachers very scared so if they want to come poach Rhino they must know that we can shoot them as they have guns and we will be BISBEE’S CONSERVATION JOURNAL Q1/Q2 • 2016 83


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