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by Janado Nazare Cher

Two Rangers, Judite Daniel Zipe and Zaqueu Macampodia, were recognized by Gorongosa National Park as Rangers of the Year during a ceremony held on July 31, World Ranger Day.

On the same day, an event organized annually by the Ministry of Land and Environment, through the National Administration of Conservation Areas (ANAC), was held in Bazaruto National Park where Judite was awarded the Ranger of the Year again by the Mozambican Ministry of Land and the Environment.

The event brought together Rangers from National Parks and Reserves from throughout Mozambique and from the National Agency for Environmental Quality Control. The awards recognized the Ranger’s achievements and dedication in support of biodiversity conservation and especially for combating crimes against wildlife.

At 28 years of age, Judite Daniel Zipe is a Forest and Wildlife Ranger. With only six years of experience, this year’s award is the second one she received an award from the Park. The first one she received was in 2019 and the second in 2023.

Judite’s recognition comes from her work in the field and her dedication to biodiversity conservation. She remembers the first time she met a poacher, being in the company of her colleagues and acting as an inspector. She says the heart of a woman and mother spoke louder. She talked to the poacher and tried to understand the reasons that led him to enter the forest and also to convince him to abandon poaching activities.

Judite said that night she thought the poacher would regret it. Instead, it was just a diversion. He was creating an escape strategy and even succeeded Judite recalls. “We had the job of running through the woods and capturing him again. It was only after a lot of work that I realized that in these cases, we do not always have to act with the heart.”

Gorongosa Rangers must be well prepared and they use many strategies. Sometimes these strategies are dangerous and put the life of an Ranger at risk.

With the award, Judite is motivated and inspired to continue working. She looks to a future of many achievements and hopes to see Gorongosa National Park with many women working in the enforcement sector. She also hopes that her story can impact mainly women and young people.

Judite is a mother, and is continuing with her higher education studies in Public Administration.

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