Julia Gunther’s Black Mambas
German born photographer, Julia Gunther has unveiled her latest series that follows the all-female anti-poaching unit, the Black Mambas.
The Black Mambas patrol 400km² of the Balule Nature Reserve in Olifants West, near the Kruger National Park in South Africa. They’ve recently been announced as winners of the UN’s Champion of the Earth award. Since their inception in 2013, the number of rhinos lost to poaching has decreased dramatically and illegal bush-meat incidents have been reduced by 75 per cent.
“A mix of lipstick, boots and camouflage fatigues, they watch, wait, and walk, always unarmed, constantly on the lookout for the early evidence of poacher activity. The empowerment of women for positions that usually would have been reserved for men, the protection of the big 5 not just for South Africans but for all human kind – that made me want to come to South Africa and spend some time with these wonderful and hardworking ladies.” Says Gunther.
Gunther stayed with the women for one week, sharing their camp and following them on daily patrols. Julia’s aim with the project, as with all her work, was to capture the personalities of her subjects, emphasizing their feminine qualities whilst they carry out work in a predominantly masculine environment.