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Ranger Kalaba: News

Ranger Kalaba

Reserve ranger: Kalaba Kalassa

Country: Zambia

Partner organisation: Kasanka Trust

Kalaba is one of the Keepers of the Wild patrolling the Kasanka National Park surrounded by the Kafinda Game Management Area in Zambia. He has been working for the Kasanka Trust since 1994, as one of their most long serving employees, and became a Keeper of the Wild in 2015.

While on a shift Kalaba stays in the bush and conducts patrols to deter poachers, often at night on high alert for gunshots. With the current demand for ivory, Kalaba’s night patrols often include dangerous confrontations with armed poachers attempting to hunt African Elephants. It is also one of his responsibilities to administer the arrest of poachers, including attending court cases.

Kalaba lives outside the park and travels two hours by bike to get to work, where he works ten days living in the field before taking five days off. Most of the patrols are concentrated in the centre of the park around the bat forest as this is where most poachers are found, but Kalaba also enjoys taking visitors on tours around the reserve.

When taking guests on tours, Kalaba has found that visitors enjoy being taking to see the fruit bat migrations (in season: October to December) as well as the rare Sitatunga and Shoebills. The most dangerous animals on the reserve are also the most threatened; the elephants who have negative associations with humans due to the poaching can become hostile towards the ranger patrols. Last year when Kalaba was escorting a film crew around the reserve they came across a herd which showed signs of wanting to charge the vehicle, but by staying calm and still the situation was diffused.

Kasanka National Park is a rich oasis of African biodiversity with 443 bird species, 120 mammals, 65 reptiles and some 70 fish species recorded in the area over the last three decades. As well as being home to the world’s densest populations of Sitatunga and Puku antelope, the park also hosts a migratory colony of eight million Straw-coloured Fruit Bats, a true wildlife spectacle which the Keepers of the Wild help to monitor.

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