The Boeing 777 has just reached it’s cruising altitude and the “fasten seatbelt” sign has finally switched off. The captain announces we are 15 hours and 15 minutes away from Johannesburg. I look around me and cannot believe that we are actually heading back one final time to complete the filming of RHINO MAN. Over the last 3 years, GCC and Friendly Human have been working to highlight the incredible rangers in South Africa. These heroes are the people that stand between the poacher and the bullet. They give their lives to ensure the survival of Africa’s national heritage, and we are headed back one more time to share their story.
Over the course of the next 2 weeks, my friend John and I will be going deep into the lives of rangers. We will start with one full week at the Southern African Wildlife College. During our time there, we will follow 41 ranger candidates who have signed up for the “selection week”. During this time these candidates will go through physical, mental and psychological duress where only the toughest and strongest individuals will make it into ranger training school. The final week will see us filming at the Timbavati Game Reserve, where we will follow some of the most senior and passionate rangers in the game.
It’s been an absolute adventure over the last 3 years. There have been ups, downs, challenges, moments of success and times of uncertainty. The only certain thing has been the unwavering fact that these rangers need to be recognized on an international level. For most of us, I don’t think we fully understand that without these wildlife rangers, we would have no wildlife left to love, protect or conserve. What would Africa be without wildlife?
We will surely be hitting the ground hard, but I will report back from the ground soon. Now time to count some sheep on the long flight over the Atlantic ocean…