Graphic Warning: The following article contains sensitive and graphic images, discretion is advised. 

Without an ounce of doubt, poaching is the worst thing that can happen to wild animals on the face of this planet. 

According to sources, on an average, 100 African elephants are killed every day. On the other hand, more than 8,889 rhinos have died due to poaching in the last decade. 

NY Times

If this staggering number doesn’t move you yet, you should know that endangered species are on the verge of extinction mainly due to the rising number of poachers in India, Kenya, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Myanmar and the United States. 

This accounts for the loss of 60% of all elephants and 40% of all rhinos ever to exist on this planet. 

Independent UK

Where many individuals can wave a blind-eye to these numbers, a few decided to step up and do something about the whole poaching menace. 

Here are 15 such inspirations, the world needs in plenty. 

1. Andrea Ghiurghi – Coordinator of Bamingui-Bangoran National Park 

Protecting animals is one thing, fighting an entire militia is another. Andrea Ghiurghi along with his lead ranger Jean Ghodjendji, has been risking his life to protect the rhinoceros, apes and elephants under his watch. 

Fighting against rebels armed with assault-rifles and rocket launchers, Ghiurghi and his men have been guarding a far-flung wilderness in a war-torn backwater and are constantly under a threat from poachers. 

Foreign Policy

2. Simon Rood – Anti-Poaching trainer at Kruger National Park 

After 9 years of dedicated training, Simon has trained more than 300 anti-poaching rangers every year to protect the rhinos. 

Initially a hunting lodge, Simon transformed his cabin into a training center and inaugurated the NKWE Tactical Training Academy to deliver quality rangers across the Lapalala Wilderness Reserve, in South Africa. 

Bisbeen Conservation Fund

3. Dimbeswar Das – Guard at Special Rhino Protection Force, Kaziranga National Park

Protecting rhinos at the Kaziranga National Park for more than 3 decades, Dimbeswar, was awarded with Earth Hero Green Warrior award from The Royal Bank of Scotland, a week ago. 

The man of all seasons, Dimba, as he is popularly known, is a guard at the Assam Forest Department and was rewarded for his efforts in saving the endangered white-horned rhinos. 

India Times

4. Manoj Gogoi – Self-styled Conservationist at the Kaziranga National Park 

Probably the only self-backed conservationist in the list, Manoj, who was born in Assam, has saved more than 5000 animals including snakes, leopards, rhinoceros and multiple species of birds. 

Such was his impact on young minds residing nearby that once a young kid stole a tortoise from his house and brought it to Gogoi so the latter could set it free in the jungle. 

Round Glass

5. Nathan Edmondson – Co-founder of Ecological Defense Group, Incorporated (EDGE)

Having worked internationally to increase the number of anti-poaching units (APU) across the globe, Edmondson’s Ecological Defense Group, Incorporated (EDGE) has worked immensely hard to counter-poaching groups across all the continents. 

Hosted by Kira Dorrian, EDGE hosts a conservationist podcast that features interviews with experts and insiders in the world of conservation. 


6. Damien Mander – Founder of International Anti-Poaching Foundation, Australia 

Damien Mander, who established the International Anti-Poaching Foundation (IAPF), is a former Australian Royal Navy Clearance Diver and Special Operations Military Sniper. 

Possessing vast experience in Naval missions, Mander used his funds and life-saving skills to perfection and has been vocal against poachers throughout his career. 

At the IAPF, Mander has operated in South Africa, Kenya, Australia, Zimbabwe, and Mozambique, establishing crack anti-poaching units by putting local indigenous forces to use. 

Free From Harm

7. Wayne Lotter – Co-founder of PAMS Foundation in South Africa 

A renowned wildlife and elephant conservationist, Lotter was the co-founder of the PAMS Foundation in South Africa and was working in Tanzania when he was shot dead by a group of poachers in August, 2017. 

Having successfully busted a lot of high-profile ivory traffickers, Lotter received death threats every now and then but never took them seriously. He was also asked to feature in a Netflix documentary on ivory-trade but had refused back then. 


8. Esmond Bradley Martin – Ivory Researcher and Conservationist 

Another renowned ivory researcher and elephant conservationist, Esmond Martin fought for illegal trade of elephants and ivory until he was shot dead in February 2018. 

Martin’s research actively threatened the illicit organizations that profited from wildlife trafficking; therefore he was eliminated on priority by a one such organization. The case, till date, remains open. 

Citizen TV

9. Albe Nel – Head of Security at Kapama Game Reserve and Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre (HESC)

Working closely with law enforcement agencies and anti-poaching units, Albe Nel is responsible for managing the security forces which guard the Kapama Game Reserve in Hoedspruit, South Africa. 

His other initiative, the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre (HESC) has undertaken a number of anti-poaching initiatives to safeguard rhinos since 1989. Nel and HESC are the first few agencies to work against poaching in the greater Kruger area. 


10. John Mugo and Daniel Maina – Last Standing Rangers protecting Sudan, the last male white rhinoceros 

John Mugo and Daniel Maina, were rangers who were stationed at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya with the task of protecting a few white-horned rhinos that remained. 

Sudan, the last male white rhino, which passed away in 2018, was the closest to Mugo and Maina and breathed his last on their watch. Sudan dying of natural causes further highlight that they did not fail, but instead were always there for the lonely rhino. 

Journal Post

11. Craig Spencer – Founder of The Black Mamba Anti-Poaching Unit 

A leading conservationist and ecologist, Spencer founded the Black Mamba APU after starting a string of NGOs, such as Transfrontier Africa, which is based in the Associated Private Nature Reserves that form a part of the Greater Kruger National Park.

Focusing primarily on ecological research and protected area management, Craig initiated the Balule Research Facility that partners with several local and international research institutions. 

Later, the same facility would invest in new technologies and strengthen relations with adjacent tribals to stop illegal trade of endangered animals.

Black Mambas

12. Sboniso Phakathi and Paul Jennings – Members of Protrack Anti-Poaching Unit 

Sboniso Phakathi, a charismatic 24-year-old eco-warrior met Paul Jennings, a former ranger, and together they organized the first “Rights for Rhino” walk from Musina to Cape Point. 

After joining Protrack, both Phakathi and Jennings walked 1,700 kilometres, visited 25 schools and spoke to 16,000 children within a matter of months. 

Their mission? To educate children and tell them that the extinction of rhinos can only be blamed upon human beings and that no environmental factor led to their decline. 

Protrack APU

13. Paul Watson – Founder of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society 

A Canadian-American marine wildlife conservation and environmental activist, Watson founded the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society to specifically focus on marine conservation and marine conservation activism. 

In January 2008, Paul Watson was named by The Guardian as one of its “50 people who could save the planet” for the work of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.


14. Rory Young – Founder of Chengeta Wildlife 

Tasked with training the Mali Elephant Project’s very first anti-poaching brigade, Rory Young has been a renowned anti-poaching instructor for over two decades. 

Apart from being credited for the formation of Mali’s first anti-poaching unit, Rory also helped establish the first formal anti-poaching training involving the country’s rangers and other armed services. 


15. Frank Cunniet and Yoann Galeran – Directors of Chengeta Wildlife

If Chengta Wildlife has been known for successful wildlife operations it is because of Frank Cunniet and Yoann Galeran, two of the most dedicated and iconic rangers fighting against poachers. 

Training armed units along with Nigel Kuhn, a detection dog specialist, both Cunniet and Galeran are known for instilling courage and bravery in those who stand tall against animal cruelty and those involved in the illegal skin trade.  

Jane Lee Mccracken

Waging war against the illegal hunting of animals is not new but organized methods to eliminate poachers is the only option, which can help secure animals on the endangered list and probably save a few species from certain extinction.