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.
LinkedIn: Jacqueline Cochrane
On the evening of July 26th, 2022, our dear friend Anton Mzimba was brutally gunned down at his home in front of his family, by what was presumed to have been hitmen from a rhino poaching syndicate. He always said he knew the risks. The risks of being a ranger. The risks of sharing his story. But that doesn’t change the fact that his loss is devastating. He could have done so much more. This podcast episode may be the last interview Anton gave. In it he gives us his life story, his hopes, and his dreams. May your legacy forever live on, my friend. 🦏🙏❤️
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.
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.
In this episode, I’m talking with Altin Gysman. Altin was born in the Eastern Cape, and worked his way up to Lieutenant Colonel in the South African National Defence Force. In 2018, he joined the Southern African Wildlife College as a Senior Course Leader, and now he is the Head of the Protected Area Integrity Unit/African Field Ranger Training Services.
In this chat, we talk about Altin’s military background and how that has influenced his current role in training rangers. We dive deep into the many jobs of a ranger, the vast set of skills taught at the Wildlife College, and the role of Project Braveheart. We also dig into what it takes to get through a ranger selection program, similar to the one featured in our film Rhino Man.
In this episode, I’m talking with Gerry McDonald, the helicopter pilot at Big Game Heli Services. Gerry grew up on a reserve where he and his brother Bruce were able to fly with game catchers who took wildlife from one reserve to another. That’s when they both became mad about flying and conservation.
Our chat ranges from Gerry’s early days in aviation, his mentors, and experiences flying at a young age, to a wide range of conservation efforts he is able to assist in from the air. He flies in vets to dart rhinos for dehornings, life-flights orphaned rhinos to sanctuaries, aids rangers on patrols, and delivers K9 units into the bush to track poachers. There may not be a more exciting job in conservation than the one Gerry holds.
In this episode, I’m chatting with Anna Mussi, the manager of Rhino Revolution. Anna is originally from the UK, and has been in South Africa since 2010, where she originally worked with African Dream Horse Safaris. In 2014, she started work with ProVet Wildlife Services, and four years later she joined the Mounted Anti-Poaching Unit at Rhino Revolution.
We talk about Anna’s background in horse racing, her journey to South Africa, all of the wide ranging work she’s been involved with in conservation, and the efforts of Rhino Revolution including anti-poaching patrols, rhino dehornings, and rehabilitating orphaned rhinos. Anna’s story is an inspirational tale of what it looks like to follow ones heart.
In this episode I have a wide ranging conversation with my good friend Ashwell Glasson. Ash is a Combatting Wildlife Crime Policy Specialist and Registrar at the Southern African Wildlife College, he’s an executive board member of the Field Guides association of Southern Africa, he has worked as a Field Guide, was a medic in the South African Defence Force, and has degrees in Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution, and Strategic Business Management.
We cover much of Ash’s education and employment background in the first part of this podcast, but it’s not just a boring list of accomplishments, it’s interwoven with stories about the history of South Africa and the complex problems and potential solutions surrounding the current poaching crisis.
From Ash’s background we dive deeper into the rhino poaching crisis, the importance of rangers, trust, and community engagement, and what part you could play in making the world a better place. There are plenty of stories and much to take away from this conversation. So let’s jump in.
Rhino Conservation and Ranger Focused Podcast.
The Rhino Man Podcast is a podcast about rangers, rhinos, and what we can do to stop the poaching crisis.
In support of the Global Conservation Corps feature-length documentary, Rhino Man, which is about the courageous field rangers who risk their lives every day to protect South Africa’s rhinos from being poached to extinction.
To learn more about the Global Conservation Corps and their work visit globalconservationcorps.org, sign up for the newsletter, and follow GCC on all of the social platforms.
If you liked this podcast, make sure to also subscribe to and catch up on GCC’s Voices of Nature Podcast, where Bob Ludke interviews a wide range of people who have dedicated their lives to making a difference in conservation.
A special thanks goes out to Simón Wilson for the music for this podcast. He is the brilliant composer for Rhino Man the movie. Learn more about his work at simonwilsonmusic.com.