Good Morning Angels: Anti-poaching game ranger gets to live his passion once again

Good Morning Angels: Anti-poaching game ranger gets to live his passion once again

With the help of Good Morning Angels, a brave anti-poaching game ranger, Solly Mahlawule, gets a second chance to live his passion after being shot!

Good Morning Angels Solly

BACKGROUND: Solly Mahlawule, 35, is a brave anti-poaching game ranger - who almost lost his life in the line of duty. Solly started his life as a game ranger in 2011. He was selected for training as part of a programme by a private game reserve in Mpumalanga to upskill local youths to become conservation and protection rangers in the province. 

Solly has been a top achiever ever since he started on this path and has progressed to being a project leader in anti-poaching. Solly not only excelled at his job, he is also the breadwinner of his extended family.

On the night of 15 May 2022, Solly and his colleague were ambushed by poachers. They were both shot and wounded. Solly’s colleague was shot in the shoulder and Solly in the leg. Solly lost his leg and the recovery process has been long and traumatic. He has been fitted with a prosthetic limb and is doing rehab to learn to walk again. He will never be able to do the job he loves in the same way as he had, but that doesn’t mean that his anti-poaching work has to be over.

With his knowledge, skill, and passion, Solly will be able to serve in the anti-poaching surveillance unit, as a specialised drone operator. He, however, does not have the finances to pay for the course or the drone that he will need to work. That’s why Good Morning Angels received a request for assistance on Solly’s behalf.

REQUEST FOR: Anti-Poaching Game Ranger, Solly Mahlawule 

REQUEST FROM: Marina Otto Helberg

ANGEL 1: Ferri Erasmus, Head of Communications of Hensoldt SA 

SPONSORING: To assist Solly to return to his passion for wildlife protection, HENSOLDT South Africa will help him to get a qualification as a drone pilot (R25,000). They will also sponsor a professional training drone for him to use (R29,000)

ANGEL 2: The Good Morning Angels Fund NPC

SPONSORING: The GMA Fund will assist Solly with another R50,000 to help with travel and accommodation needs during his studies and to make the necessary alterations to his home to accommodate his impaired mobility.


Dear Good Morning Angels

 In South Africa, thousands of committed wildlife Rangers risk their lives to protect endangered wildlife in its natural environment. These rangers are usually the sole providers of income to their families. One such unsung hero is Ranger Solly Mahlawule, who lost his leg during an ambush by poachers on the night of 15 May 2022 at a game reserve in Mpumalanga.

Solly, an extremely positive and strong fighter, has recovered medically from the incident. He received a prosthesis and is undergoing rehabilitation to learn how to walk and adapt physically to his new lifestyle. The job of a ranger has changed significantly over the past few years from a conservation-based role to a more military and security surveillance-focused position.

Across Africa, more than half of wildlife rangers don’t have access to insurance if they are seriously injured or killed while on duty. This alarming statistic doesn’t only put rangers at considerable risk, but their families as well. Many rangers are the breadwinners in large and extended households.

Rangers often come from local communities surrounding game reserves and are a great source of information for both education and community liaison purposes. To assist Solly to return to his passion for wildlife protection and help him adapt to his new lifestyle needs, HENSOLDT South Africa wants to provide him with a new skill set by enabling him to acquire a qualification as a drone pilot which will allow him to continue to operate and earn an income as a wildlife protector ranger.

What we need further assistance with, is Solly’s travel costs between Nelspruit and  Johannesburg over the period of the drone course. He will also need accommodation in Johannesburg. Solly’s home also needs to be adapted to accommodate his new reality and impaired ability.

We would appreciate any assistance to help Solly to return to his productive life and service to our wildlife heritage - and to enable him to provide for his family.



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