Community game guards are the “boots on the ground” who monitor and conserve wildlife on behalf of their communities. Game guards (also called environmental shepherds) are essential for implementing the Event Book system by recording all significant wildliferelated events in their yellow books.
Other activities include patrolling their areas to prevent and/or report wildlife crime, responding to incidents of human-wildlife conflict (including providing advice on mitigation measures), and raising awareness about the importance of wildlife within their communities. Some have become specialised rhino, lion and elephant rangers that focus on monitoring and conserving those species.
Some of the game guards shared their concerns relating to COVID and recent wildlife declines, why they appreciate their jobs, and messages for their communities and support institutions.
Below are some thoughts from a selection of conservancy game guards; access the full interviews, and additional interviews, here.
Hofney Hoeb (Torra, Rhino Ranger)
"These animals are our future. Since I was young, I travelled around with my father, Sebulon Hoeb who worked for Save the Rhino Trust since 1990, so in many ways, this is my family inheritance. I love my job and this connection to my father."
Martha Lambert (//Audi, Volunteer Game Guard)
"Walking around in the field, seeing wildlife and the beautiful landscapes makes my day. My conservancy does not generate income at the moment and so we do this voluntarily."
Gert Kasupi (≠Khoadi-//Hôas, Rhino Ranger)
"I love my job. Being a Rhino Ranger has helped us to change our livelihoods at home, my kids are also able to go to school as I can cater for their essential needs."
Kachana Mukushi (Lake Liyambezi Emerging Conservancy, Game Guard)
"There has been a decrease in poaching and an increase in wildlife. The awareness raising activities are effective."
Marius Vainen Kock (Oskop, Game Guard)
"My job also gives me the opportunity to get in touch with nature. Exploring the landscapes, seeing wildlife and the combination is fascinating and relaxing. I am proud to be a game guard and would like to become an expert in the field of conservation."
Maleska Harases (≠Khoadi-//Hôas, Environmental Shepherd)
"It is so important to continue the work we do and to educate our children so that they will still be able to see wildlife in our area in the future."