In 2007, poachers killed 13 rhinos in South Africa. Last year, it was 668, and this year, the number’s likely to be even higher. Poachers sneak into parks in the dead of night, and they face off against increasingly well-trained rangers — it’s kind of like Law and Order with endangered species. Which is maybe why Al Jazeera English thought it would make good reality TV.
The network’s Wildlife Warzone series, which is airing next month, follows a group of rangers through their 38-day training to go up against poachers. The trainees “will emerge as highly trained operatives capable of battling the poachers they are up against, many of whom are former soldiers,” says Media Update. “Being a wildlife ranger is one of the most dangerous jobs in the world.”
We hope that the rangers that Al Jazeera is following are getting paid a more-than-decent wage for this work — not just for their sake, but for the rhinos’. Rhino horns are incredibly valuable on the black market, and earlier this year protected rhinos in Mozambique were killed after rangers helped poachers track the animals down. If a reality show contract means protecting rhinos is more lucrative than helping to kill them, we’re in favor.