An Appraisal of Green Militarization to Protect Rhinoceroses in Kruger National Park


  • Johan Jooste
  • Sam Ferreira


Trafficking of rhinoceros (rhino) horn threatens the persistence of two species living in Kruger National Park. Anti-poaching initiatives form part of an integrated approach adopted by South Africa. Several scholars see these initiatives as green militarization when authorities put people in readiness and assemble equipment, funding or approaches for war to deal with environmental emergencies.
The militarization of rhino protection receives critique from several scholars and focuses on 1) ranger functions shifting more to law enforcement that are 2) increasingly militarized which 3) increases alienation of people living next to protected areas. We highlight that law enforcement was always a key element of ranger functions and that it is increasing. We illustrate militarization of rangers in
Kruger, a responsible response given the changing global social context. We challenge, however, the hypothesis that militarization further alienates neighbours. The present qualitative narrative-based social science approaches introduce uncertainties that make it hard to evaluate the hypothesis. Complimentary formal hypothesis-based approaches may overcome these uncertainties. In addition, we postulate that improving protection of wildlife may carry crime reduction footprints into areas abutting reserves that can be beneficial to people living next to protected areas.