Evan Williams Productions

Unreported World: The Black Mambas Saving the Rhino

Channel 4 'Unreported World' QuickSilver Media


The illicit trade in rhino horn for the Asian market has sky rocketed in recent years. It has become one of the most valuable commodities in the world, worth as much as gold, diamonds and cocaine. Last year 1,215 rhinos were killed in South Africa - a record high and the numbers are still increasing. Smugglers have set their sights on the African game reserves that are home to 75 per cent of the world’s remaining rhinos. Poachers are killing one animal every seven hours and if they continue at the same rate, rhinos will become extinct in the wild in less than 10 years.

But a new group has emerged to fight for the rhino's survival. The Black Mambas are a unit of 26 women from villages around Balule, a collection of privately owned game reserves in South Africa. Siphiwe  Sithole is one of the Mambas. She's aware of the risks involved in her job - the poachers are willing to use violence to get rhino horn, given the potential profits involved and the lack of job opportunities for local people. 86 per cent of people who live in the region are unemployed and very few make any money from game reserve tourism - which they see as the preserve of rich white people. Poaching can be a tempting option to make a lot of cash - but can Siphiwe and the other Mambas convince locals that their region will suffer in the long-term if all the rhinos are killed?


Reporter Evan Williams

Producer / Director Laura Warner

Quicksilver Media for Channel 4 Unreported World

First Aired May 12, 2015

Evan Williams Productions