Title Image

Anti-poaching Unit

Since 2007 southern Africa has experienced a sharp increase in rhino poaching. Rhino poaching is the illegal act of killing rhinos for their horns. The world population of black rhinos is now listed as critically endangered and white rhinos are near threatened, both as a direct result of poaching.

From its start, the Trust established a team of anti-poaching specialists, known as scouts. In a swift response to the increase in rhino poaching in southern Africa in 2007, the Trust responded by intensifying its intelligence network, increasing the number of scouts, upscaling training and equipment, and re-fencing the entire reserve. The Anti-poaching Unit is constantly on high alert, ever vigilant, adapting to the ongoing poaching threat.


Intensive training of the scout force begins at selection, an arduous six-month long course focused on physical training as well as training in the art of tracking and the use of weapons. Recruits are also instructed in the proper use of radios and GPSs. They are given training in First Aid and they are exposed to a basic overview of the fauna and flora they will be working with. All scouts are registered as members of the police constabulary.

Intelligence switches anti-poaching activities from reactive to proactive mode. It is better to engage poachers before they make contact with rhinos than trying to apprehend them after a rhino has been killed. The scouts respond to incoming information and react to apprehend potential poachers. The Anti-poaching Unit has a strong focus on Intelligence, directing considerable effort and resources to this. In comparison to other rhino reserves we have few incursions.


A Quick Reaction Team is tasked as a rapid reaction force for any incident. Their role is also to assist government authorities with off-property investigations, to locate rhinos that are seen infrequently, and to visit neighbouring communities to forge relationships.


Every three months, week-long refresher courses are undertaken to maintain morale and fine-tune skill sets. This includes fitness tests, tactical training and patrol appraisals.


The scouts have dual roles of law enforcement and biological monitoring. Each day, whilst on patrol, they monitor and collect data on the rhino population and other keystone and endangered species within the reserve. This data is compiled into an extensive database for scientific research.

It’s not just a job, but a way of life… courage, determination, unselfishness and cheerfulness are what being a Malilangwe Scout is all about.

Malilangwe’s anti-poaching strategy is underpinned by seven areas of management focus: Leadership, Intelligence, Funding, Recruitment, Training, Strategic Deployment and Community Engagement.


The result is an effective scout force with quiet confidence, discipline, and committed vigilance that continues to ensure the ongoing preservation and protection of all species on the Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve.

How Can You Help?


The Malilangwe scouts are at the forefront of the war against poaching. Their extraordinary courage and dedication stands between the Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve’s animals and biodiversity, and the very real threat of extinction for certain species.


  • Donate to provide boots for one scout, for USD 200 per year.