From poachers to forest guards

ZambiaSentenced to prison for hunting wildlife, but later on Luka was given the opportunity to look after them.

Luka Chinoya, 35 years old, doesn’t go to school, doesn’t have a decent job. As a teenager, he worked odd jobs like cooking, gardening or doing manual jobs for neighbors to make some money.

But after the death of his father, the young man becomes the breadwinner of the family. He decided to go to the forest to hunt wild animals. For 10 years, Luka went hunting with four other people. Their target is wild buffalo. In two weeks, Luka can catch three or four. The hunting group will kill the meat, then sell it to the villagers. Each child brought about 15 USD for the guy.

Being a poacher with Luka was really not easy. You will have to spend two weeks in the jungle, when to watch the buffalo, sometimes watch the rangers patrol. After 10 years, he finally appeared in court and was sent to a prison in Kaoma, a small town on the edge of Kafue National Park.

After two weeks of imprisonment, Luka met with representatives of Game Rangers International (GRI) – a non-profit organization that cooperates with the Ministry of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW) and local to protect wildlife. by Zambia. This person offered the young man a job at the orphanage.

Luka becomes an animal guardian after 10 years of poaching. Image: GRI.

The process of training to become a wildlife guardian has been described as “difficult and strenuous”. Luka had to go through a lot of exercise: running, swimming, learning to navigate in the bushes, tracking and handling weapons. Currently, every day, Luka walks with herds of elephants, protecting them from lions, hostile jungle elephants and hunters.

Having been a poacher has also left many useful lessons for Luka’s current work. He knows how to survive in the jungle and handle snake bites.

These difficulties mean that Luka has a steady income that changes his life. All three of his children go to school.

Since 2013, anti-poaching units supported by GRI have captured more than 1,000 poachers and recovered more than 416 kg of ivory in the Kafue area. Luka carries a M59 rifle in case it is necessary to protect the elephant or herself from aggressive poachers.

You’re currently the longest serving scout here. “Luka is loyal and loves animals, is a role model for others. He is not doing this job for money,” said Timothy Hammond, facility manager.

Luka is proud of being a poacher now like a ranger. He hopes people who are doing the wrong job as I did will stop. “The animals you are trying to destroy are the ones that gave me a job and are feeding my family and community,” he said.

Intelligent Update (according to the Independent)


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