My name is Tizola Moyo, and I am one of the longest-standing Rangers at African Parks. For the past 28 years, I have spent my life protecting Majete Wildlife Reserve in Malawi.
When I first arrived in Majete in 1993, poaching was everywhere because there was a war in Mozambique. My team and I were doing all we could to prevent poaching and other illegal activity, but because we were under-resourced and ill-equipped, the poachers were winning. They managed to kill almost all the wildlife in the reserve, elephants, rhinos, lions, even buffalo, and we were often under attack ourselves, and we even lost one of our colleagues to poachers. It was a devastating time.
But I never gave up on the Majete.
So, when African Parks came in 2003, we saw a lot of changes for the better. They partnered with the Malawi Government to manage the reserve and provide us with the training and the equipment we needed to address poaching and secure Majete.
I watched as species that I thought were lost from my home forever returned. Over 18 years, more than 2,500 animals from 16 species were translocated to Majete – including elephants and even cheetahs.
We also began working with the local communities around the reserve to ensure they benefited from its existence – providing healthcare, building schools, supporting local livelihoods, and as the reserve became more secure and wildlife began to grow, so did tourism and employment.
Majete finally felt alive again. And we, its rangers, have ensured that not one elephant or rhino has been killed since their reintroductions in 2003 and 2006. Because of our efforts, there are now more than 12,000 animals living here and people come from all over the world to see its revival.
When I go out into the park today and I see a lot of animals, I feel very happy that I have done something good not only for wildlife but also my people.
If my story inspires you, you can donate to African Parks here, and help us protect parks like Majete.
Ranger Tizola Moyo
Majete Wildlife Reserve
Image supplied by: Children from the communities surrounding Majete Wildlife Reserve, Malawi © Marcus Westberg