Oratile Beula - Anti-Poaching Ranger And Wildlife Guide



In an initiative launched by UK-based charity How Many Elephants, join us on World Female Ranger Day for this wonderful interview with anti-poaching ranger and safari guide Oratile Beula as we discuss the importance of wildlife conservation, anti-poaching efforts and advocating for the preservation of wild animals through education and community outreach. Find out what it takes to be a female ranger in Africa and discover the beauty of the wildlife that calls the Botswana wilderness home.


PODCAST


Alongside this article, we have recorded our first ever podcast episode in a brand new sustainability series.


Brush Mag : In Conversation with Oratile Beula will be available to listen to very shortly through the article so stay tuned on our insta page for updates.


Oratile Beula pictured on shift at Great Plains Selinda Explorers Camp


What is World Female Ranger Day?


World Female Ranger Day celebrates and supports female anti-poaching rangers, spotlighting Africa this year. Female rangers are bold, brave and resilient. They’re changing the game and paving the way for women to stand alongside men at the forefront of conservation. But they need allies.


ABOUT ORATILE BEULA


Oratile Beula, known as 'Rati' by her friends and colleagues, has had over 20 years experience working as a wildlife ranger and safari guide. In the last two years, Oratile has been working on the frontline of animal conservation alongside Rhinos Without Borders, an initiative started by Great Plains Conservation and AndBeyond with the intention of relocating rhinos from endangered areas in South Africa to the safety of conservation areas in Botswana.


From there, their new journey begins and the task is clear. It's down to Oratile and her team to keep a watchful eye over these rhinos and ensure they are healthy and safe in their new home.


About Rhinos Without Borders


Recently, with the support of the Botswana government and the Botswana's Department of Wildlife, Rhinos Without Borders have safely relocated around 100 rhinos by air and introduced them to their new home in Botswana at a mammoth cost of 8 million dollars. In fact this effort is in part to replenish the rhino population in Botswana, which was sadly largely depleted in the same way by poachers. However, since these rhinos were relocated, the birth of new calves has led to a population base of over 100 rhinos. It is an incredible effort and one which we are encouraging people to support, be it through donations, sharing the campaign with our communities and speaking about the importance of conservation with our peers.



INTRODUCTION


I had the wonderful opportunity to interview Oratile over a video conversation last week. We had a great chat about her work, life as a ranger in Botswana and the reason behind her passion and efforts in the field of conservation. Her hard work and dedication to helping save our endangered wildlife and preserve them for future generations is something we are all truly thankful for and in admiration of. In Botswana, approximately 30% of land is protected and home to conservation areas rich with wildlife and the rangers employed are their primary caretakers. However, in South Africa, it's a different story. Aside from the trophy hunting which plagues their culture, since 2008, a disturbing 8493 rhinos have been poached in South Africa alone. This total onslaught has led to the decline of many populations. With a rhino killed every twelve hours, more of these African icons are now being lost to poachers every year than are being born. When Oratile patrols Botswana,

she acknowledges that whilst wild animals can be dangerous and vigilance must be maintained, it is not the animals that are the true threat - it's the poachers.


Oratile is a most inspiring lady and a truly successful female ranger. She is in charge of monitoring the rhinos and keeping them safe. For World Female Ranger Day, we at Brush Mag, with the support of How Many Elephants and Great Plains Foundation hope you enjoy this interview. Let's begin.



THE INTERVIEW


Hi Oratile, thank you and welcome to this Brush Mag interview. It's great to meet you. First off, please can you tell us a bit about yourself?


I was born in Francistown, the second city of Botswana and my home village is

Marobela, about 60 kilometres from Francistown. I schooled in Marobela for my primary education. For my junior high school, I went to Shangano CGSS in the village next to Marobela. For my senior high school, I went to Tutume McConnell College. There, I did my senior high school B GCSE and that was in 1999.


After Secondary school, I went to Marobela Technical College to study auto mechanics. And then I went to an Institute that was in 2006 to study professional guiding. And then after that, I started looking for a job in the tourism industry.


Q. You are doing some really important conservation work with Rhinos without Borders. Please can you tell us a bit more about that?


At Rhinos Without Borders, we look after the rhinos that we have so in Botswana. Rhinos Without Borders is an organisation that has been organised to specifically look after the Rhinos. It is an organisation that consists of two companies, Great Plains Foundation, as well as AndBeyond. These are the two organisations that turn to the governments of these two countries involved in the relocation of the rhinos from South Africa to Botswana to where they can be taken care of by us in the wilderness. Relocating rhinos by air is the only fast and safe way it can be done and so it takes a lot of manpower and costly resources.


These rhinos are relocated from South Africa because sadly, there is a high number of poaching that goes on in South Africa. They are located with the intention to try and keep them safe, so that they can be conserved in the remote and protected wilderness of Botswana.


Q. What are the best aspects of your job?


I love to spend more time with wild animals and learn a lot that is not known by many people. It is on its own a phenomenal job in the sense that it always refreshes my mind and soul.


Oratile tells us more about her job in the podcast episode


Q. Working with wild animals can be a dangerous job. How do you try to ensure your safety at work?


Understanding that I work in an area with potentially dangerous animals makes me go to work with a high degree of vigilance in order not to endanger the animals as well as myself. The good thing at Rhinos Without Borders is that we work or patrol with the military as well as other anti poaching units, but still I like to give safety briefing which helps to try and avoid situations where they might end up shooting wild animals so pre-walk and pre-drive safety briefings are very very important. The poachers are not trained in animal behaviour and can misread signs from the animals as being potentially dangerous. Wild animals can often mock charge or try to intimidate simply because they are scared. We teach the rangers about these behaviours so that they can better protect the animals and avoid dangerous situations.


Further question in the podcast episode

In what scenarios do you give safety briefings? What might you be doing with the military and anti-poaching units exactly?


Q. What can people do at home to support wildlife conservation?


If nations can understand more about conserving animals like rhinos and work together to try and stop poaching in any way, my career as a game ranger will expand and more job opportunities will emerge... and these animals will bring more income to the countries economies and their developments. It's a win win for the animals as well as the people and the economy.


Further question in the podcast episode

So as poaching decreases, resources and opportunities would increase, is that right? Is it fair to say that a lot of money and resources go into anti-poaching efforts?


Q. Where do you see your career going over the next few years? What

are your goals?


My goals are to forever preach the importance of conservation wherever I have the opportunity. For example, I work to mobilise communities and everyone I happen to have a conversation with in my wildlife guiding for example...my points of view are more nature related and I seek to enlighten people to the importance of saving rhinos.


Further question in the podcast episode

Do you give talks?


Q. We read that you are also a trained mechanic. That’s so badass!

Tell us how is this useful and have your skills saved you whilst out

in the bush?


Understanding the basics of mechanics is very helpful in this job and several times I have had to use my skills and even improvise to ensure that we get to the next destination...diagnosing mechanical faults e.g. loose fan belts leading to squeaky noise so I tighten faulty starter motors and make brakes adjustments. Changing flat tyres happens a lot in the bush!



Q. When you are not saving rhinos, what do you like to do?


If I’m not at Rhinos Without Borders I will be guiding safari tours at Great Plains Selinda Explorers Camp, educating guests about conservation. Also I like to do more self study about nature, animals and cultures.


Further question in the podcast episode

Please can you tell us a bit about your hobbies, family and what you do for fun aside from guiding work and conservation?



Q. For people who are new to safari, what would you recommend they do

and where could they go?


For a new person to come to Africa for safari it’s great to see all the different animals and so I would recommend they do a tour of the mighty Okavango Delta starting with the Selinda Reserve and I can be your guide! It is the habitat of lots of different species and some roam between the Linyanti, Chobe and Moremi, of which Selinda Reserve is on the receiving point or centre of all this area. Therefore we get the best views of great game like elephants, buffaloes, lions and amazing birdlife. We also take a trip to the Duba Reserve by boat for the classic delta water experience before heading back home. This whole experience I have just described is a must for me.


Further question in the podcast episode

Are trips to Duba Reserve on the delta water a guided safari by boat?

Please can you describe this experience a little more.


Q. Do you have many female colleagues in your industry?


There are not so many female rangers at the moment but it is better than before since I am here and a few more in different areas of Botswana but generally we are very few in the profession. Slowly, the number is coming up which is good news for women.

Further question in the podcast episode

How do women in Africa get into your profession? How can they follow this vocation and what is the career trajectory?


Q. Do you suffer from what we call eco-anxiety?


“Eco-anxiety” refers to persistent worries about the future of Earth

and the life it shelters.


I do suffer from eco-anxiety, yes. I care about the Earth because it holds not only human lives but also that of the wild animals and plants too. I imagine how stressful the issue of global warming is due because of the potential outcome that threatens us and the planet. It is important we do everything to protect the earth.


Q. Especially as we start to come out of the pandemic and things return to normal, do you find it hard to accept our modern ways of life that cause damage to the world around us?


As we get back to a new normal, my wish is that it does not negatively impact the environment once more. The way this can be avoided is if we reduce the output of fumes that destroy the ozone layer and causes global warming, we reduce pollution levels drastically and reduce littering to keep the earth clean and lovely in order to give the planet and our human race a long life. This is an area that needs to be spoken about much more in communities. For our safety and that of our lovely plants and wild animals, we must try to keep planet earth clean from all sorts of pollution and waste.


I think it’s time that everyone keeps it in their mind that the planet must be preserved for -

the next generation of people, wild animals and the next centuries of our natural world.


I have a slogan


I AM RESPONSIBLE AND CARE for the earth. HOW ABOUT YOU?



We love this slogan, thank you Oratile for your wise words. We would like to thank Oratile and the team at Great Plains and Charlotte Rous at CRC for her support and for introducing Brush Mag to Oratile Beula and discover about her life as a female ranger in Botswana and the important wildlife conservation work of Rhinos Without Borders.


If you would like to find out more about any of the organisations spoken about in this interview, please see the links below.


SHARE

spread the word on social media


SUPPORT

start conversations and engage with these charities


DONATE

make a donation no matter how small and offer regular support if you can


PODCAST

Alongside this article, we have recorded our first ever podcast episode in a brand new sustainability series.


Brush Mag : In Conversation with Oratile Beula will be available to listen to very shortly through the article so stay tuned on our insta page for updates.


SHOP

Make purchases in aid of these charities to support their conservation efforts


DO

Volunteer, Effect change and foster #ALLYSHIP


How Many Elephants


howmanyelephants.org

@howmanyelephants


World Female Ranger Day


WorldfemaleRangerDay.org

@worldfemalerangerday


Rhinos Without Borders


rhinoswithoutborders.com

@rhinoswb


For safari experiences


Great Plains Conservation

@greatplainsconservation


For charity and conservation work


Great Plains Foundation

@greatplainconservation


shop in support of Female Rangers


There are some amazing products available to purchase from the How Many Elephants shop to raise money for female rangers including some beautiful writing sets, greetings cards and gift bags.


worldfemalerangerday.org



Get Involved


If you would like to support Rhinos Without Borders and follow along on their mission, please visit:


www.rhinoswithoutborders.com



 

If you would like to show your support for World Female Ranger Day, participate in any fund-raising events, find out about more women like Oratile or even send them an audio message of support, please visit:


www.worldfemalerangerday.org