Ep 54: Fedrick Ndlovu – Life lessons from a ranger at the Timbavati Private Nature Reserve.


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Our guest today is my friend, Fedrick Ndlovu. Fedrick is a long-time ranger at the Timbavati Private Nature Reserve.

In this episode, we dive into Fedrick’s path into becoming a ranger, and how it almost didn’t happen because of a government mixup. We talk about his early days on the reserve facing the new threat of rhino poaching, and his rise up through the ranger ranks. We cover the effects of COVID on the team in 2020, leadership advice, what it was like working with the RHINO MAN team, and the loss of Anton Mzimba.

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Instagram: @ndlovufedrick | @timbavati_pnr
Facebook: @Fedrick Ndlovu | @Timbavati Private Nature Reserve
Twitter: @timbavati
LinkedIn: @Timbavati Private Nature Reserve

Ep 51: Chris Galliers – The future of rangers and the International Ranger Federation.

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In this episode I’m talking with Chris Galliers. Chris is the current President of the International Ranger Federation and we go deep on everything rangers, on this World Ranger Day. He is also the manager of Conservation Outcomes, which was created to provide support to land that is being developed and managed for biodiversity conservation outside of traditional state protected areas. Chris has been on the executive committee for the Game Rangers Association of Africa, and was the Senior Manager of Wildlife and Conservation Initiatives at WESSA.

In this conversation, we dive into Chris’s youth growing up on a dairy farm in rural KwaZulu-Natal and the curiosity that led him into the conservation field. We talk about the importance of rangers, the balance of conserving spaces while supporting growth, staying optimistic in work that can feel like a constant battle, and we go deep on the International Ranger Federation. Chris talks about the next World Ranger Congress, the Chitwan Declaration and the Universal Ranger Support Alliance, and the International Ranger Awards. Chris is deeply passionate about rangers, conservation, and his work. You won’t want to miss this wide ranging conversation.

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Instagram: @chrisgalliers | @int_ranger_fed
Facebook: @chris.galliers.5 | @InternationalRangerFederation
Twitter: @ursa4rangers
LinkedIn: @Chris Galliers | @Universal Ranger Support Alliance

Ep 50: John Jurko II – Directing RHINO MAN the movie and living the better story.

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In this episode, we turn the microphone on our host, John Jurko II. John is the lead director and producer who has overseen the completion of our documentary film, RHINO MAN, since 2018. After receiving a BA in Film Production and Philosophy at Bowling Green State University, he lived in Los Angeles, where he worked in the camera department of many indie films. He then moved to Atlanta, Georgia, where he was drawn to RHINO MAN for its story and potential as a social impact project. He created and hosts The Rhino Man Podcast to further build awareness of the importance of rangers, the rhino poaching crisis, and community engagement. John has presented to audiences such as His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, government, international financial crime delegates, law enforcement, and conservation NGOs.

In this conversation, we dive into the ups and downs along John’s winding journey into filmmaking. We go deep into his philosophy on life, how he came to RHINO MAN, and the endless obstacles he had to overcome to complete the film. We also talk about the devastating loss of his good friend and ranger, Anton Mzimba.

Matt Lindenberg, the Executive Director of the Global Conservation Corps takes the reins and hosts an intimate conversation with John. This episode shows how we can all contribute to the greater cause in our own way.

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Instagram: @johnjurko
Facebook: @johnjurko
Twitter: @johnjurko
LinkedIn: @John Jurko II

Ep 49: Orlat Ndlovu – Head of Ranger Services at the Timbavati Private Nature Reserve.

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In this episode, I’m talking with my good friend, Orlat Ndlovu. Orlat is the Head of Ranger Services at the Timbavati Private Nature Reserve, which borders the Kruger National Park in South Africa. He’s been a dedicated ranger for over 14 years, and he was a close friend and colleague of the late Anton Mzimba.

In this conversation, we talk about Orlat’s early love of birds and how that passion for nature led to a career as a field ranger. We dive into the challenges he faced during ranger selection and training, the day-to-day work of a ranger in the Timbavati, and the many dangers of the job. We spend time unpacking the rhino poaching crisis, and how it changed the nature of his work. We go deep into what makes a good ranger, the nature of corruption within the ranger corps and how his team works to eliminate it, and the importance of educating and inspiring the youth. We even have a heartfelt discussion about the loss of Anton Mzimba, and the difficult task Orlat had in stepping up and taking leadership of his team during such a devastating time. Orlat is full of sage advice and love for the work he does.

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Website: timbavati.co.za
Instagram: @ort_027_@timbavati_pnr
Facebook: @orlat.ndlovu | @timbavatiprivatenaturereserve
Twitter: @timbavati

Ep 48: Marianne De Kock – A life dedicated to training the next generation of rangers.

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In this episode, I’m talking with Marianne De Kock. Marianne along with her husband, Ruben, and their close friend, Martin Mthembu, founded and ran African Field Ranger Training Services, or AFRTS. Together they developed the coursework and trained tens of thousands of rangers across Africa and beyond. AFRTS continues to operate as a program of the Southern African Wildlife College’s Protected Area Integrity Department. Marianne served in the South African Military Defence Force, where she became a sharp shooter and participated in National Key Point shooting competitions. In 2018, Marianne was recognized as a Rhino Conservation Supporter at the Rhino Conservation Awards. She also plays a major role in our documentary film, RHINO MAN.

In this conversation, we talk about Marianne’s path into the military and how the training she received prepared her for her future work as a ranger trainer. We go into how she and Ruben met, and the leap of faith they took in starting AFRTS. She tells many stories of the early days, of the bonds she had with Martin Mthembu and Anton Mzimba, and the passion she has for the frontline of conservation, our rangers. This was such a lovely episode, and Marianne’s life of dedication to a bigger purpose shines through.

Ep 42: Theresa Sowry – SAWC and educating the next generation of conservationists.

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In this episode, I’m talking with Theresa Sowry. Theresa is the CEO of the Southern African Wildlife College, which equips people with the necessary knowledge and applied skills to conserve and protect Africa’s natural resources and biodiversity in viable, inclusive and economically successful ways. Theresa holds a Master of Science Degree in Botany from the University of the Witswatersrand, South Africa. She gained conservation experience while employed by South African National Parks working on their rare antelope programme in the Kruger National Park. And she is a pilot, flying a Savannah S, Light Sport Aircraft.

In this conversation, we talk about Theresa’s family visits to Kruger National Park in her youth, and how those fostered her love of nature. We talk about her path to working at the Wildlife College, the beauty of the location and people, and the many programmes offered: from field ranger training, the K9 unit, and aerial support to community and youth development, and responsible Resource Management. We talk about the changes that took place because of the rhino poaching crisis, the complexities and nuances of conservation, and Theresa’s love of flying. Such a wonderful, wide-ranging conversation.

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Instagram: @wildlifecollege
Facebook: @theresa.sowry | @southernafricanwildlifecollege
LinkedIn: @Theresa Sowry | @Southern African Wildlife College

Ep 40: Reginah Smith – North West Parks Board, and female leadership in the ranger corps.

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In this episode, I’m talking with Reginah Smith. Reggie is a ranger corporal in Pilanesberg National Park in North West Province, South Africa. She’s an adjutant of the Pilanesberg Rhino Protection Unit, she’s a participating member of the Game Rangers Association of Africa, and she is studying law to become an advocate for rangers in the legal system.

In this conversation, we talk about Reggie’s unexpected path into becoming a ranger. We talk about her training at the Southern African Wildlife college by Ruben de Kock and Martin Mthembu, and the confidence and leadership skills they instilled in her. We go into the beauty of Pilanesberg National Park, the height of the rhino poaching crisis, the formation of the Rhino Protection Unit, and how she’s overcome the challenges of leading a ranger unit as a woman. She remembers Anton Mzimba, and we discuss the lessons loss. Reggie has a deep love for family, inspiring the youth, and advocating for her rangers.

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Website: northwestparks.org.za/
Instagram: @pilanesberg_national_park
Facebook: @visitnwparks | @PilanesbergNationalPark
Twitter: @NWP_HOME | @PilanesbergNP

Ep 39: Sharon Haussmann – GKEPF and protecting wildlife in the Greater Kruger Area.

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In this episode, I’m talking with Sharon Haussmann. Sharon is the CEO of the Greater Kruger Environmental Protection Foundation or GKEPF, which was established to assist with protecting wildlife and combatting environmental crime across the region. Over the last four-plus years, Sharon has held multiple Chairperson positions at Balule Nature Reserve. She has strong roots in farming in the Lowveld, and has academic qualifications in engineering and conflict management.

In this conversation, we talk about Sharon’s early upbringing and her path into conservation. We dig into the history of the formation of Balule Nature Reserve. We go into her experience of the early days of the rhino poaching crisis and how it has evolved over time. We dive into the formation of GKEPF and the wide ranging work they are doing to coordinate partners and programs in an effort to protect wildlife. And we even spend time talking about the importance of rangers and our dear friend and fallen ranger, Anton Mzimba. She had some beautiful words to say about his life and memorial service. Throughout this episode, Sharon exudes passion, dedication, and love for the people and the work of conservation.

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Website: gkepf.org
Instagram: @sharonhaussmann01 | @thegkepf
Facebook: @GKEPFoundation
Twitter: @gkepf
LinkedIn: @Sharon Haussmann | @GKEPF

Ep 31: Leitah Mkhabela – The Black Mambas, and the life of a female anti-poaching ranger.

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In this episode, I’m talking with Leitah Mkhabela. Leitah is a Supervisor and Media Officer for the Black Mambas. Founded in 2013 by Craig Spencer of Transfrontier Africa, the Black Mambas are South Africa’s first all female anti-poaching unit. They operate on the front lines of the Balule coalition of private game reserves on the western border of Kruger National Park. Leitah started her career as a Black Mamba in 2014. In 2020, she received a Ranger of the Year award by The International Paradise Foundation in China.

In this conversation, we talk about Leitah’s blossoming love for wildlife as a teen, her decision to become a ranger for the Black Mambas, and the challenges she faced from society as a woman going into this field. Leitah dives into her growth as a ranger, the dangers rangers face in the field, and the reasons the Black Mambas patrol in the bush unarmed. We go into depth on the role of a ranger, community engagement, and advice for women in conservation. We even talk about our dear friend, Leitah’s cousin, the late Anton Mzimba of the Timbavati—how he motivated Leitah and what it means to pick up the torch and continue his work.

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Website: transfrontierafrica/the-black-mambas
Instagram: @theblackmambas
Facebook: @blackmambasapu
Twitter: @blackmambasapu
LinkedIn: @Black Mambas Anti-Poaching Unit

Ep 24: General Johan Jooste – Rhino War: the battle to save Kruger National Park’s rhinos.

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In this episode, I’m talking with retired Major General Johan Jooste. General Jooste spent 35 years in the South African National Defence Force as an infantry officer, a war veteran of Southern African campaigns, and finally exiting the military as the Deputy Chief of the Army. His second career was 5 years as the Director of International Business Development for BAE Systems Land Systems South Africa, a South African defence company. The General’s third career started in 2013 and includes the roles of Officer Commanding Special Projects at Kruger, Officer Commanding Special Projects at SANParks, Law Enforcement and Security Program Manager at Peace Parks Foundation, and Law Enforcement and Security Program Manager seconded to the National Department.

In this conversation, we talk about General Jooste’s past experience in the military and how he ended up leading the para-militarization of the ranger corps at Kruger National Park. We dive into the many challenges he faced, his method for securing the park from the outside in, the risks the rangers must take to protect the rhinos from poaching syndicates, and why he decided to write his new book titled, Rhino War. The General wants to make it clear that all of his answers are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the organizations he works for. There are many great stories and lessons in this one, along with the harsh realities of poaching crisis.

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Rhino War: Buy book on Amazon
Instagram: @sanparks | @krugernationalpark | @peaceparks | @tonyparkauthor
Facebook: @SANParksHonoraryRangers