This is the story of Cynthia, a remarkable young woman from Gabon, Africa, who is being helped by American soldiers and Spirit of America.
Cynthia is a member of the eco-guards, a special type of Park Ranger responsible for protecting the national parks and the elephants living in them.
Cynthia is 28. She grew up on a family farm next to Longo National Park in Gabon. As a young girl, she discovered an elephant that had been killed by poachers. The elephant’s tusks had been torn from its head and sold by the poachers on the black market. It was a terrible sight. She never forgot the image.
Cynthia committed herself to helping the elephants. She joined the eco-guard because she wanted to protect them and make a difference in her country.
Elephant poaching is a horrifying practice that has taken an enormous toll on this species’ population. More than 25,000 forest elephants have been slaughtered in the last 10 years. The money from the poaching is used to fund terrorist groups like Boko Haram. Because of this, the US Army has soldiers in Gabon to train Cynthia and other Park Rangers so they can stop the poaching.
Spirit of America is supporting the US Army by helping the eco-guard Park Rangers with critical gear. We are providing tents, rucksacks, and other supplies the Park Rangers need while out on patrol in the jungle.
I have a strong personal connection to this project. When I served in the US Army as a Special Operations soldier, I worked with the US Embassy and the Malian Forest Rangers to combat the poaching of the last surviving desert elephants. I have seen slaughtered elephants with their faces butchered for their tusks. I will never forget it.
I hope Cynthia’s story inspires you as much as it does me. Please support the eco-guards and US military in Gabon. And, please spread the word about this project, not only for the sake of these beautiful animals, but for the men and women risking their lives for such an important and noble cause. Please share this story with your friends.
Thank you for your support.
Spirit of America Project Manager – Africa