South Africa (CNN) In 2013, a determined group of South African women decided to take on one of their country’s most dangerous criminal elements: poachers. They call themselves the Black Mambas. Their goal seemed lofty: protecting critically endangered black rhinos in an area of Kruger National Park that is roughly the size of Israel.
“Before we joined this group, people in the community and all over the world didn’t believe in us,” says Felicia Mogakane, one of the group’s members.
“They were all saying, what are they thinking? Women cannot do this, this is a man’s job. But we have proved them wrong.”
Indeed, the team — which currently boasts 26 members — reduced snaring in Balule Reseve by 76 percent over two years.
“Since we’ve started the Black Mambas anti-poaching project, there are no poachers in our reserve because we’re doing our job so well,” notes Mogakane.