Remembering Anton Mzimba: SA Ranger Making International Headlines!
Photo Cred: Timbavati Nature Reserve

Those who had the pleasure of meeting Anton Mzimba will know how he dedicated his life to what he believed in, fighting for a species which has no voice of its own and uplifting and inspiring the people who he knew needed his support.

 

Johannesburg, South Africa (29 July 2022) – Anton Mzimba tragically lost his life this week when he was gunned down in his home, but the Head Ranger at Timbavati Nature Reserve is not leaving this world quietly as his name is making headline news around the globe, bringing awareness to the violent levels of crime in South Africa and the importance of our Rangers.

Timbavati published a tribute to the hero, describing him to be an exceptionally passionate, courageous, and spiritual man.

“Those who had the pleasure of meeting him, spending time with him and working with him will know how he dedicated his life to what he believed in, fighting for a species which has no voice of its own and uplifting and inspiring the people who he knew needed his support. There has been no greater man.”

In June 1997, as a young man, Anton began his conservation career as an erosion fieldwork team member. Drawn and inspired by the reserve’s beauty and wildlife, Anton showed his passion and willingness to do more. His early leadership skills shined through and were recognized by the reserve management. In April 1998, Anton passed his basic field ranger training and started his journey as one of the youngest field rangers within the unit. In 2003, Anton was promoted to Full Corporal Instructor, overseeing the training program which aimed to keep his ranger team fit physically and mentally.

During this time, he created the field ranger teams’ moral and work ethic, promoting and motivating his team to continue their efforts against wildlife crime. The year 2008 saw Anton lifted into the leader he was meant to be, Head of Ranger Services for the Timbavati Private Nature Reserve.

Minister of Forestry, Fisheries, and the Environment Barbara Creecy also paid tribute to the hero.

“I take this opportunity to salute his personal courage and the commitment with which he tackled his responsibilities. I will also be sending my sincere condolences to his wife and young family who have been left bereft of their father and breadwinner through this heinous crime,” the Minister said on Thursday.

The Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment’s Green Scorpions stands ready to work with the police to arrest the murderers of Mzimba, who was gunned down outside his home on Tuesday this week.

“Mzimba had 24 years of experience as a field ranger and was the winner of the Field Ranger of the Year award at the annual Rhino Awards in 2016. He was a key member of the Greater Kruger Environmental Protection Forum. His murder only a few days ahead of World Ranger Day on 31 July highlights the dangers rangers face protecting our country’s wildlife on a daily basis.”

“Recent trends in rhino poaching show a move away from the Kruger Park to private reserves and KwaZulu-Natal, where the majority of rhinos have been killed this year. This makes it all the more important for national government to shift its focus to supporting provincial authorities and private reserves in the war on rhino poaching,” Creecy said.

But it was Prince William’s tweet to his 2,4 million followers that caused the tragic announcement of his passing to become international news.

“I’m deeply saddened to learn of the killing of Anton Mzimba, who I spoke to in November. Committed and brave, rangers like Anton are central to the conservation of Africa’s fantastic wildlife. Those responsible must swiftly be brought to justice. My thoughts are with his family.”

Prince William has demanded ‘justice’ for the murdered Ranger, and his tweet is reverberating around the world with hundreds of global publications telling the hero’s story.

Meanwhile, Timbavati wants to ensure that Mzimba’s legacy lives on while thanking the hero for giving his life and love to the wildlife and people of the Timbavati.

“We will continue to cultivate the unyielding passion he showed to reconnect the young of the surrounding communities to wildlife to ensure that they too become guardians of their heritage. Today is a heartbreaking reminder of the huge challenges our wildlife protectors face and just how incredibly important it is to continue to support them in every way we can.”

If you would like to contribute to the support of the Ranger’s legacy and his family, please click here.

“The donations received through his fund will go directly to Anton’s family to support them financially. A trust fund will be set up in his honour. The Timbavati and its supporters will provide continued support for his family.”


Sources: Timbavati Nature Reserve | SA News | Twitter 
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Recognised as one of the Mail and Guardian’s Top 200 Young South African’s as well as a Primedia LeadSA Hero, Brent is a change maker, thought leader, radio host, foodie, vlogger, writer and all round good guy.

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