Women rangers on the frontlines of SA’s conservation fight

Johannesburg – At 32 years old, Lucrescencia Macuacua is not only one of three women who completed this year’s ranger training course in Limpopo National Park, but the second-highest scoring candidate in the class.

In a statement, the Peace Parks Foundation said the course was known to be one of the toughest, most challenging and male dominant ranger training courses on offer.

“Having completed a ranger training course presented by the Southern African Wildlife College and supported by the Limpopo National Park anti-poaching units, she and her fellow ranger graduates now stand ready to take on the role as guardians of Mozambique’s conservation areas,” Peace Parks Foundation’s spokesperson, Lise-Marie Greeff-Villet said.

“From the more than 400 applicants, 154 people were interviewed from which a 120 were selected to go through gruelling mental and physical testing for a week. Lucrescencia was one of the top 40 students selected to complete the rest of the course which focused on both the practical and theoretical aspects of anti-poaching operations, such as patrolling, road-blocks, gate controls and arrest procedures.”

The Foundation said when asked whether she thought that she would be able to successfully complete the course, Macuacua said, “I was mentally prepared to succeed when I applied for this job and had the courage to make it work.”

She was injured while completing the course, but she was this did not discourage her at all.

“The training was not what I expected. The interview session was easy as I knew most of the answers, but the physical fitness assessment was a challenge, especially when I got injured. I gained courage when the instructors made me a reference of persistence and courage to others. When we came out second on the final day in Mapai it gave me even more courage.”

When Macuacua was 14-years-old, her mother, who took care of her family by selling tomatoes and vegetables in Maputo, passed away.

“Her wish was that my sister and I attend a multiracial school. She always encouraged us to go to school. When she died I wanted to realise her wish for us to all attend school and be educated,” she said.

The Peace Parks Foundation said of the three women who had now successfully graduated as rangers, Macuacua and one other would be deployed to Limpopo National Park and whilst the remaining female ranger would be posted in Banhine National Park.

They added that across southern Africa, thousands of men and women stepped up every day to protect the critical resources and natural heritage contained within the region’s conservation areas.

Source: IOL News

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