Newest Recruits Perform Admirably during Induction Course
Over the past two weeks our new recruits have taken their first steps to becoming fully fledged anti-poaching rangers.
The first week is a selection course aimed determining whether the recruits have what it takes, both mentally and physically, to work in the front line of anti poaching. Activities included individual evaluations , physical fitness testing, team-building and most importantly an introduction to conservation philosophy. All too often rangers accept a position in conservation because it is a means to earn a living and support their families without actually understanding what the significance and importance of their role is. Unfortunately, this results in the ethics of conservation being left in the workplace and not continued when the ranger returns home where it is most effective. It is amazing to watch the proverbial ‘penny drop’ on our recruits faces when topics such as global warming, overpopulation, habitat destruction and human-wildlife conflict are discussed and how quickly their attitudes towards the natural environment change.
Recruits go through varied and intense physical training sessions to ensure
they can handle the labor-intensive work in anti-poaching
During the second week of the course, the recruits are taken through the basics of being a ranger and taught some of the skills necessary to carry out the role effectively. Safety is paramount to any activity carried out in the wilds of Africa, so this is emphasized repeatedly through course material. The recruits are given inductions on the behavior and evasive action of dangerous game, performing land and water-borne patrols, communication, navigation and effective data collection.
Since the majority of patrols are carried out on foot, fitness training and physical exercise become part of the daily routine in camp as does drill which is essential for promoting teamwork and discipline. As lake patrols are part of our normal operations it is vital that all our rangers are competent swimmers, something the majority are not, in fact a few had never been swimming before! Despite much hesitation and complete terror for some, it didn’t take long before they were all comfortably floating around, treading water and holding their breath under water in their first pool session!
Recruits go through many drill training sessions to promote and encourage
teamwork and being in sync with one another during important field work.
In week three our recruits will get a taste of what it feels like to get out into the field and put their newly learnt skills to the test (under very close supervision of course!). Although they have got a long way to go yet, they are all thriving so far and having a lot of fun becoming vitally important wildlife guardians.
We have managed to provide the recruits with basic uniforms but as their skills develop, so does the requirement for tactical equipment.
During the induction it’s important to cover ALL aspects of work – including ensuring rangers
are competent swimmers, can operate on the water with the anti-poaching patrol,
and training mentally by learning conservation philosophy.
So as we move forward with these fine men, empowering them to become the next generation of environmental protectors, we urge you to listen out for the call as the sun rises on the horizon in the early mornings…