The story…

All-female anti-poaching rangers

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Need-to-know language

gruelling – very difficult and requiring a lot of effort

a big ask – a task that is not easy to do

break – (here) lose confidence, determination or happiness

state financial assistance – official help from the government in the form of money

blighted – damaged, ruined or spoiled

Answer this…

What success did the unit have following a tip-off?


For decades this was a man’s job. Physically gruelling foot patrols tracking groups of poachers armed and ready to kill. It’s dangerous work. So, when this anti-poaching unit was set up nine months ago, many were sceptical.

Nyaradzo Hoto, female game ranger
They just think that we cannot do it. We cannot do it at all. They just saw us as failures, but they are wrong.

This area was once used for trophy hunting. Bad management and poaching saw game numbers plummet. The women are working to revive it. But protecting the 100-square-mile reserve is a big ask.

The privately-funded project is managed by a former special forces soldier. He made the decision not to treat the women any differently.

Damian Mander, Akashinga founder
These women – most of them just wouldn’t break. They wouldn’t break and we ended up in a position there where we had to effectively tell women that they had to leave because none of them had pulled off voluntarily.

Long-term solutions involve winning the hearts and minds of the community. And the most effective way to do that is through the women.

Tonight their training is being tested. Following a tip-off, they are sweeping a village in door-to-door raids.

A major coup: they’ve netted a wanted ivory poacher. He’s later jailed for nine years for poisoning elephants with cyanide.

In a country where wildlife conservation receives little to no state financial assistance, there’s a lot to be done.

The project plans to roll out more women-only reserves around the country. It’s become a powerful idea – putting women in charge of Zimbabwe’s wildlife to reform a sector blighted by scandal and corruption.

Perhaps just the fresh start the country needs.

Did you get it?

What success did the unit have following a tip off?

The unit caught a wanted ivory poacher who was later jailed for nine years.

Did you know?

In Greek mythology, the Amazons were an all-female tribe of warriors who were brutal, aggressive and lived for war. They were the daughters of Ares, the Greek god of war, were famed for their martial skill and featured in several ancient legends.

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