The essential services of the Timbavati Private Nature Reserve – part 1
Focused, fearless and faithful field rangers of the Timbavati.
We sit listening, waiting, in anticipation for any slight give away of an unwanted, dangerous visitor. The night covers the earth with her darkness, our senses are heightened. We hear the crickets scream their deafening calls; we hear the owls hooting their chilling solo as if in a classic horror film. It is then in the silence that we hear an unnatural, home hitting, familiar sound which brings fear to the fearless. Our radio lights flicker, the chase is on. Looking up to the guiding lights of the night sky, we are heading south, running with the cool winds on our faces, smelling the air as our instinctive six senses kick into gear. Our support arrives, the howling calls of our hounds give us the confidence to catch this unwanted visitor. Noses to the ground, noses to the air, they pick up a scent, and they are off…
The Timbavati Private Nature Reserve (TPNR) has an extremely focused, fearless and faithful team of field rangers and control room operators, who are guided by leaders who lead by example. While we are all behind closed doors, resting and spending time with our families, these dedicated men and women are ensuring that the wildlife of the Greater Kruger is in safe hands and left unharmed. This is no 9h00 to 17h00 job, these individuals work long 12hour shifts, either in the warm sunny days or in the dark chilly nights. Each morning, the headquarters is woken to the proud voices and stamping feet of disciplined, motivated and passionate people.
We could speak about how wildlife trafficking and poaching has increased in Africa over the past couple of years and how our security budget has increased by over 600%, but this blog is devoted to showcasing these focused, fearless and faithful field rangers. Why these specific adjectives? Let us break them down:
A field rangers self-discipline and passion to protect wildlife keeps his head in the game, to maintain his focus.
Waking every morning knowing that it’s a new day for new challenges, knowing that there is a role to be played, to protect wildlife no matter the fears they may face. Bravery, courage, dedication, and a willingness to succeed.
In more ways than one, they remain faithful & dedicated to the TPNR and the reserve they represent, faithful to the wildlife they have all promised to protect, and the dedication to be the best they possibly can be.
As we walk long distances, sometimes up to 30km a day, scanning the veld and fence lines for any unusual signs, we take the time to absorb and appreciate the beauty that is the Timbavati. To appreciate that there are still places in the world where wildlife can roam freely and safely. However, the thought comes to mind, as we grow old, who is there to take over our responsibilities of safeguarding our wildlife? Is there a connection with the next generation, boys and girls who want to carry on the important role we play, and ensure our goal of protecting wildlife for all generations is not lost? We have faith that through our efforts, our communities will see the benefits of these wildlife areas and understand that they need to play a part in ensuring these areas are not lost.
Our field rangers and control room operators are not only an essential service, but they are a critical and invaluable asset to ensure the protection of our reserves wildlife. Through the years, their efforts have not gone unnoticed and they have been equipped with some of the most incredible and essential equipment by very generous donors. Equipment that has been essential in improving their safety and ensuring that they can undertake the vital job of protecting wildlife. We will never have the words to adequately say “thank you” to our donors for their continued support or the field rangers for their sacrifices.
To say the least, we salute you all for your focus, fearlessness, and dedication to the Timbavati Private Nature Reserve.
“For a true hero isn't measured by the size of his strength, but by the strength of his heart.”
Photo credits for images 4 & 7 to the Global Conservation Corps & John Jurko II