Ep 14: Barney Long – Re:wild, lost species, and saving the Sumatran and Javan rhinos.

In this episode, I’m talking with Dr. Barney Long. Barney received his Bachelors of Science in Zoology at the University of Bristol, and his Ph.D. in Biodiversity Management, at the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology, University of Kent at Canterbury. For years Barney led the Species Program at WWF, starting his career in Southeast Asia exploring the region during baseline biodiversity inventory surveys and searching for presumed extinct primates. Barney is now the Senior director of Conservation Strategies at Re:wild, where he works on the conservation of endangered mammal species and the thematic approaches required to achieve the recovery of their populations.

In this conversation, we talk about Barney’s childhood dream to work in the rainforest, some of his early days in the field, an unexplainable experience with a local guide, and his passion for the Sumatran and Javan rhinos. We dive deep into the complex and daring attempts being made to bring the Sumatran rhinos back from the brink of extinction. We explore the many lost species and lesser known creatures on the edge, and how Re:wild is partnering with people from around the world, who have a passion for saving their local wildlife.

LEARN MORE
Website: rewild.org
Instagram: @rewild @barney_long_pro
Facebook: @rewild
Twitter: @rewild

Ep 13: Sean Willmore – The Thin Green Line Foundation and telling the rangers’ stories.

In this episode, I’m talking with my friend Sean Willmore. Sean  was an Australian Park Ranger for 11 years before selling his car, remortgaging his home, and heading off on a 14 month trip around the world to make a film about rangers. His efforts to bring attention to the dangerous work undertaken by these warriors has won him international acclaim. Using profits from the documentary The Thin Green Line, Sean started The Thin Green Line Foundation, where he currently works as the founder and Managing Director. He also served for 8 years as the President of the International Rangers Federation.

 

In this conversation, we talk about Sean’s early connection to conservation and his work as a ranger in Australia.  We dive deep into the decision to risk it all to follow a passion to tell these rangers stories. We hear about the many challenges that rangers face in diverse settings around the world, and what The Thin Green Line Foundation is doing to address them. There are so many amazing stories from Sean’s life and from the fellow rangers he’s encountered.

LEARN MORE
Website: thingreenline.org.au
Instagram: @thethingreenlinefoundation
Facebook: @thethingreenlinefoundation
Twitter: @ThinGreenLine_

Ep 12: Precious Malapane – K9 handler, field ranger, and fierce woman of conservation.

In this episode, I’m talking with my friend Precious Malapane. Precious is from Mpumalanga, South Africa, where she grew up on the boarder of Kruger National Park. She became a ranger at the Southern African Wildlife College, where she then went on to become a K9 handler and trainer. Precious deployed with K9s to support rangers in the field tracking poachers, and she helped train new candidates in ranger selections and training courses at the College. She is now working as a field ranger and K9 handler out in the field.

In this conversation, we talk about how Precious first connected with wildlife, her love of dogs, what it was like as a woman in ranger selection and training, and her advice for women wanting to become a ranger. There are a ton of stories about working with dogs, overcoming tough challenges, and following that passion within. During the podcast, we struggled with some minor connection issues, but hang in there. Precious’s enthusiasm and stories make up for it.

Ep 11: Matt Lindenberg – GCC, RHINO MAN, and fighting for the future of conservation.

In this episode, I’m talking with one of my best friends in the world, Matthew Lindenberg. Matt is the founder and executive director of the Global Conservation Corps and a co-director and producer of RHINO MAN the movie. Early on, Matt studied at the Southern African Wildlife College, where he subsequently worked for six years. During this time, Matt was mentored by Martin Mthembu, one of the finest ranger trainers in the African continent. Matt went on to attain his Masters in Cheetah Conservation from Grand Valley State University. After Martin passed away in 2014, Matt was compelled to continue Martin’s legacy of conservation and he did so by founding GCC and RHINO MAN the movie.

In this conversation, Matt and I dig deep into his early connection to wildlife, his years of moving around South Africa and the US, his struggle for direction during his youth, how he eventually reconnected with his love of nature, and the path down which following this passion took him. We dive into the inspiration for starting the Global Conservation Corps, how RHINO MAN the movie came about, the trials and tribulations we’ve both had while bringing the film to life, and some of the recent challenges since COVID-19 changed the world. There are a ton of amazing stories of overcoming struggle, finding one’s direction, and committing to something bigger than oneself.

LEARN MORE
GCC Website: globalconservationcorps.org
Instagram: @theglobalconservationcorps @matt.lindenberg
Facebook: @globalconservationcorps. @matt.lindenberg.5

Ep 10: Rohit Singh – WWF, advocating for rangers, and Life on the Frontline.

In this episode, I’m talking with Rohit Singh. Rohit is the lead for Zero Poaching at World Wildlife Fund (WWF). His current work helps advance WWF’s priority wildlife conservation outcomes and helps reduce illegal and unsustainable wildlife exploitation and trade. Rohit works closely with WWF field offices, regional programs, global initiatives and partners to support conservation law enforcement in protected and conserved areas through developing and implementing best practices and innovations.

In this conversation, Rohit takes us on his journey from an early desire to work with wildlife, up to his current work with rangers. We go deep into the Life on the Frontline survey, which reveals many of the challenges rangers face on the job around the world: Everything from low wages, to lack of mental health support, to poor training, and gender inequalities. We talk about his work through WWF and the Universal Ranger Support Alliance to create better working standards and respect for the ranger position internationally. Rohit tells stories of some amazing rangers and leaves us with a beautiful quote from a fellow ranger. So much to learn about how we can all come together and support these amazing guardians of the planet.

LEARN MORE
WWF Website: www.worldwildlife.org
Life on the Frontline: 2019 Survey
Instagram: @rohitwildlife @wwf
Facebook: @wwf

Ep 9: Petronel Nieuwoudt – Care for Wild and the collective passion for saving the rhinos.

In this episode, I’m talking with Petronel Nieuwoudt. After completing her university studies, Petronel joined the Endangered Species Protection Unit of the South African Police Service, where she held the rank of Captain. In 1999, she left the police service and started The Game Capture School, which focused on the best practices for wildlife capture, care, and management. Petronel also started the Sondela and Tamboti wildlife centres. In 2011, she moved to Mpumalanga where her passion for the protection of wildlife resulted in the founding of Care for Wild Africa, a rescue and rehabilitation centre for all wildlife in need.

In this conversation, we talk about Petronel’s youth growing up on a farm surrounded by wildlife. We go into her journey of conservation that led up to the founding of Care for Wild. Petronel tells beautiful stories about all of the sacrifices the many people have made in working to save the rhino species, everything from dangerous helicopter flights, to rangers risking their lives, to the endless long hours the caretakers put into keeping these orphaned survivors alive. This episode is truly a journey of passion and love for the people and animals of this amazing planet.

LEARN MORE
Care for Wild: careforwild.co.za
Instagram: @careforwild
Facebook: @careforwild

Ep 8: Ruben De Kock – A life dedicated to training rangers as the frontline of conservation.

In this episode, I’m talking with my good friend Ruben de Kock. Ruben was first a soldier in the South African Defence Force, where he specialized in training equestrian and motorcycle skills along with weapons handling. When he retired as a Staff Sergeant he began training field rangers for the Bureau of Natural Resources in KwaZulu-Natal. There he met the legendary ranger trainer Martin Mthembu, who soon became Ruben’s best friend and eventually partner in their own business, African Field Ranger Training Services. Together, along with Ruben’s wife Marianne, they trained thousands of rangers across Africa, Asia, and Europe. Later they sold AFRTS to the Southern African Wildlife College, and now Ruben works as the Development Manager at LEAD Ranger. He is also one of the stars of our film RHINO MAN.

In this chat, we take a trip into Ruben’s storied past – plane crashes in the Congo, poacher encounters in the bush. We learn about his time in the military, and when he first trained rangers at Ntinini under conservationist Nick Steele. We dive deep into his relationships with his friend Martin and his wife Marianne, and we explore Ruben’s passion for everything rangers. He has truly dedicated his life to fighting for field rangers, making sure that they get the best skills and support they well deserve. So without further ado, let’s jump into this epic conversation.

LEARN MORE
LEAD Ranger: leadranger.org
Southern African Wildlife College: wildlifecollege.org.za

Ep 7: Jacqueline Cochrane – Investigative journalism, combating corruption, and rhino poaching.

In this episode, I’m talking with Jacqueline Cochrane. Jacqui is an investigative journalist focusing on combating wildlife and organized crime, and African peace and security. She’s also a communications consultant and works with organizations like the Institute for Security Studies (ISS), ENACT, and WWF Khetha.

In this chat, we talk about Jacqui’s background in conservation and journalism and how she brought the two together. We dive deep into topics like transnational organized crime in relation to wildlife crime, the misperceptions of the public’s view of the rhino poaching crisis, how to combat corruption through creating more trust and equality, the role of investigative journalism in this cause, why we need collaboration between international and local organizations when fighting wildlife crime, and so much more.

FOLLOW
LinkedIn: Jacqueline Cochrane
Twitter: @Jax_C

Ep 6: Anton Mzimba – Life of a ranger at the Timbavati Private Nature Reserve.

In this episode, I’m talking with my good friend, Anton Mzimba. Anton has been a field ranger in South Africa for over 24 years, and he is currently the Head of Security for the Timbavati Private Nature Reserve. In 2016, he won Best Field Ranger at the Rhino Conservation Awards. Anton also serves as a technical advisor for the Global Conservation Corps.

In this conversation, we talk about how Anton became a ranger, his days of training rangers at the Southern African Wildlife College, the role of a ranger and how it has changed over the years, the emotional toll of facing armed poachers, and how to navigate family life with a job that takes you away from home for long periods of time. We also dig into potential solutions to poaching, which include working closely with local communities, and we get Anton’s thoughts on the coming release of Rhino Man.

FOLLOW
Website: timbavatiprivatenaturereserve.org
Instagram: @timbavati_pnr
Facebook: @timbavatiprivatenaturereserve

Ep 5: Johan Marais – Life of a wildlife vet with Saving the Survivors.

In this episode, I’m talking with Dr. Johan Marais. Johan is a veterinarian, and equine and wildlife surgeon. He was a senior lecturer in equine surgery for 20 years, and in 2019 was awarded the prestigious Spirit of the SA Equine Veterinary Association award. Johan is also a photographer and the author of two books, “Great Tuskers of Africa” and “In Search of Africa’s Great Tuskers”.

In this conversation, we talk about Johan’s journey to becoming a wildlife vet and what it took to start his own NGO, Saving the Survivors. We take a deep dive into his knowledge of rhino anatomy and the groundbreaking surgical procedures he’s developed to save poached rhinos. And we discuss the psychological and emotional effects this prolonged war has had on all of those involved. This one starts out great and keeps getting better and better all the way to the end.

FOLLOW
Website: savingthesurvivors.org
Instagram: @savingthesurvivors
Facebook: @savingthesurvivors