Deep in the heart of Africa, a dedicated group of rangers patrol the Chinko nature reserve. In baking equatorial heat, they are weighed down with body armour and camouflage fatigues. Beads of sweat run down their faces; mosquitos whine. The men keep watch over a vast patchwork of savanna and rainforest in the Central African Republic – a country mired in civil strife and one of the many frontlines of a poaching war that spans the continent and reaches across the globe.
Chinko’s rangers are the guardians of an ecosystem that is home to a rich variety of species. These include buffalos, chimpanzees, forest elephants, leopards, lions and the icon of this park, the giant eland – an imposing antelope.