Majority Female Ranger Unit from South Africa Wins Top UN Environmental Prize
The Black Mamba Anti-Poaching Unit, a South African and majority-women ranger group, has been announced as one of the winners of the United Nation’s top environmental accolade, the Champions of the Earth award.
With this award, in the Inspiration and Action category, UNEP is recognizing the rapid and impressive impact The Black Mamba Unit has made in combating poaching and the courage required to accomplish it.
UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner said, “Community-led initiatives are crucial to combatting the illegal wildlife trade and the Black Mambas highlight the importance and effectiveness of local knowledge and commitment.”
“Their many successes are a result of their impressive courage and determination to make a difference in their community. The Black Mambas are an inspiration not only locally, but across the world to all those working to eliminate the scourge of the illegal wildlife trade.”
Since being founded in 2013, the 26-member unit has also helped arrest six poachers, reduced snaring by 76 per cent, removed over 1,000 snares and put 5 poachers’ camps and 2 bush meat kitchens out of action.
The area that they protect, the Balule Private Game Reserve, is home to an abundance of wildlife – including not only rhino but leopards, lions, elephants, cheetahs and hippos. It is part of the Greater Kruger National Park, a network of over 2 million hectares of protected areas that is home to thousands of birds, impalas, giraffes, wildebeest, buffalos, antelopes, hyenas, crocodiles, fish and zebras.
Protecting the rhino is vital in South Africa, where 1,215 rhinos were killed in 2014 alone. This is an increase of over 12,000 percent since 2004 and symptomatic of a devastating epidemic that has pushed the rhino closer to the edge of extinction.
Leitah Mkhabela, a member of the Black Mamba rangers, said:
“I am not afraid, I know what I am doing and I know why I am doing it. If you see the poachers you tell them not to try, tell them we are here and it is they who are in danger.”
“Animals deserve to live they have a right to live.
Do your part.
When demand ends, the killing will end.
Say yes to life.
Say no to illegal rhino horn and elephant ivory.”
Their difficult, intense and dangerous work both within and outside the park fundamentally undermines the international poaching syndicates that threaten to wipe out populations of rhino and elephant in the wild.
The award, to be presented in New York on the 27 September 2015, is in acknowledgment of this fierce, practical courage.
~UN Says Anti-Poaching Group Are Champions Of The Earth~
~Published on Sep 10, 2015~
The Black Mamba anti-poaching group in Africa just received the UN’s Champions of the Earth Award for Inspiration and Action. The group, composed mostly of women, patrols the Balule Private Game Reserve in South Africa, dissembling snares, looking for poachers and avoiding wildlife.
Ebola virus disease (EVD), Ebola hemorrhagic fever (EHF) or simply Ebola is a disease of humans and other mammals caused by an ebolavirus.
Symptoms start two days to three weeks after contracting the virus, with a fever, sore throat, muscle pain and headaches. Typically, vomiting, diarrhea and rash follow, along with decreased function of the liver and kidneys. Around this time, affected people may begin to bleed both within the body and externally. Death, if it occurs, is typically 6 to 16 days from the start of symptoms and often due to low blood pressure from fluid loss.
I just find it ironic that there’s outcry about this epidemic when we, as a nation, have a day in, day out lifestyle that has created a series of serious epidemics of major proportions yet the outcry for this has been deafened by years of ignorance, apathy, inaction, carelessness.
Today we memorialize the death of Matthew Shepard, 17 years ago today. He died from injuries sustained in a hate crime several days earlier, having never woken up. He was left for dead, lashed to a fence in the bitter cold of a Wyoming winter.
What some people don’t know is this was not the first time this poor young man had experienced the horror of violent crime. Three years earlier, on a class trip to Morocco, he was beaten and raped. Almost to much to comprehend the torture this man endured during his short adulthood.
Today he would be just a few months shy of his 38th birthday.
Since 1998, the legacy of this remarkable young man’s life has challenged and inspired millions of individuals to erase hate in all forms. Although his life was short, it continues to have a great impact on both young and old alike.
The story of Matthew Wayne Shepard begins on December 1, 1976 when he was born prematurely to Judy and Dennis Shepard in the small city of Casper, Wyoming. Matthew attended school in Casper until his junior year of high school when he finished his primary education at The American School in Switzerland. His experience abroad fueled his love for travel. He took the opportunity to explore Europe and learn multiple languages including German and Italian.
Matthew was an optimistic and accepting young man. He always put his family and friends first and had a special gift of relating to almost everyone. He was the type of person that was very approachable and always looked to new challenges. Matthew had a great passion for equality and always stood up for the acceptance of people’s differences. Throughout his life he expressed his love for acting by becoming very active in community theater both on and off stage.
Matthew’s college career took him to a number of different universities and later ended up studying political science, foreign relations and languages at the University of Wyoming in Laramie. He was extremely interested in politics and was chosen as the student representative for the Wyoming Environmental Council.
Shortly after midnight on October 7 1998, Matthew Shepard, met Aaron James McKinney and Russel Arthur Henderson in a bar. After Shepard admitted he was gay, they talked him into leaving with them, at which point they drove to a secluded location outside Laramie, stole his wallet, tied him to a fence, pistol-whipped him senseless, and left him for dead in freezing weather. He was discovered 18 hours later, his unconscious body initially mistaken for a scarecrow.
Matthew died on October 12 at 12:53 am at a hospital in Fort Collins, Colorado. His entire family was by his side for the last few days of his life. His funeral was attended by friends and family from around the world and gained the appropriate media attention that brought Matthew’s story to the forefront of the fight against hate.
Matthew was promptly made an example of by the Right Reverend Fred Phelps of the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas, who claimed divine retribution had killed Shepard for the sin of being a homosexual.
Phelps and his flock picketed Shepard’s funeral on 17 October 1998, holding signs proclaiming “GOD HATES FAGS” and similar slogans, later installing a “memorial” on the church website which proclaims: Matthew Shepard has been in hell for 2102 days. Eternity – 2102 days = Eternity.
This tragedy helped the world wake up to the fact that hate and discrimination still lives in our communities, our schools and our families.
Although his life was cut short, the impact of his spirit is great.
The Matthew Shepard Foundation
Was founded by Dennis and Judy Shepard in memory of their 21-year old son.
Created to honor Matthew in a manner that was appropriate to his dreams, beliefs, and aspirations, the Foundation seeks to “Replace Hate with Understanding, Compassion, & Acceptance” through its varied educational, outreach and, advocacy programs and by continuing to tell Matthew’s story.
To encourage respect for human dignity and difference by raising awareness, opening dialogues, and promoting positive change.
To “Replace Hate with Understanding, Compassion, and Acceptance” through a variety of educational and outreach programs, and by continuing to tell Matthew’s story.
To persuade people to think differently, behave differently, and inform others of the importance and value of diversity.
We ALL are ONE!!!
~~Matthew Shepard’s Story~~
~~Uploaded on Jan 5, 2012~~
This video was produced for the American Giving Awards presented by Chase. The Matthew Shepard Foundation competed for a share of $2 million in grants. The Foundation ended up receiving $250,000 thanks to our many supporters. For more information on the Foundation visit http://www.MatthewShepard.org and http://www.MatthewsPlace.com