SA's "Wildlife Warrior" and Game Ranger Anton Mzimba Killed

July 28, 2022

Game ranger Anton Mzimba, who fought poaching efforts over the years to keep wildlife safe, was shot and killed this week.

Details around the shooting are sketchy and police have yet to confirm what happened. The Timbavati Game Private Nature Reserve said Mzimba, 42, their “wildlife warrior”, died on Tuesday.

Timbavati said it was cooperating with authorities, but “the reserve needs to remain confidential about the details at this stage”. Mzimba was the head of ranger services at Timbavati, where he had worked for 25 years.

Timbavati said Mzimba had dedicated his life to “the protection of a species which has no voice of its own, and uplifting and inspiring the people who he knew needed his support”.

Mzimba’s conservation career began in 1997 as an erosion fieldworker. In 1998, after passing his basic field ranger training, he became one of the youngest field rangers at Timbavati. In 2003, he was promoted to the position of full corporal instructor, in which he was tasked with the management of the training programme.

Timbavati said Mzimba’s passion and leadership skills propelled him to the position of head game ranger at the reserve.

“The impact that this one man has had, not only within the wildlife space, but also touching the lives of, and inspiring young children, has been simply enormous.”

Timbavati said Mzimba not only excelled at his job, but that he also encouraged young people to pursue careers in conservation and to respect wildlife. “Anton’s enduring belief, something he shared with everyone he met, was that a field ranger should be seen as a hero, someone to aspire to become.

“Anton lived his beliefs, never wavered from his convictions, and, above all, remained a brave and honest man,” said Timbavati.

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