An eye-opening glimpse into an anti-poaching boot camp and the man behind it.
We were welcomed to the Nkwe Anti-Poaching camp by two rather plump lazy looking Jack Russell dogs and a teeny tiny scruffy little thing full of wags and wiggles. These three are also unlikely track stars running 4 kilometers through the bush each morning with their Camp owner.
“Impossible!” I said, “Especially the tiny one”. But Simon indicated, “They just don’t know any better and do quite well.”
As I thought of it, this is a marvelous metaphor of the African Wildlife community and in this case Simon Rood of Nkwe Wildlife Security Services & Nkwe Tactical Training Academy.
They make the impossible look easy but trust me, not without loads of struggle and sacrifice.
Just like the little 6 inch wonder… Imagine that tiny heart pumping to the max but living the dream.
Simon converted his hunting lodge 9 years ago into a training camp for a unique brand of anti-poaching units.
Rangers used to care for animals and help tourists, etc. But now it’s all-out war against sophisticated international syndicates accumulating treasured animal body parts to sell for big bucks. If you can believe it, this international illegal trade ranks right up there with weapons, drugs, and human trafficking.
The equivalent 4k challenge for Simon is to now raise up rangers with military discipline and skill from the local black communities. They also need to refine their bush sense to sustain grueling periods in the wild protecting wildlife from motivated poachers.
Most of the over 300 recruits have never held a rifle or tracked big game. Most, only cared to eat the wildlife not protect it and a strong work and team ethic must be learned.
But why just blacks at Nkwe? It could be such a money maker attracting the macho from around the world the go through the experience. Simon’s focus is pure, “Wildlife and the bush are their heritage. It’s in their DNA. But most have forgotten as they learn our western ways of greed. But now wildlife is their responsibility again.”
Why else? It brings needed skill training, builds confidence, discipline and the ability to work hard for a purpose as well as build character, self-reliance, and to qualify for good jobs.
But the bigger heart for Simon and others is needed for the behind the scene marathons. Like keeping current with government permits and training standards, the attrition of good people, the on-going struggle of not only finding but keeping good donors, and maintaining balance with your personal life.
The work is very rewarding for most we meet. But it is the major pressures of these bigger heart items that keep them panting long after the 4k. It takes a special breed of people to be in wildlife conservation.
God bless you Simon for your impact on saving wildlife, for giving over 300 young people a powerful opportunity and for challenging those little dogs.
Thanks. We honor you. And it’s worth it!
Helping is easy.
[100% of your gift goes to stop poachers]