More than thousands of rangers had died in the last decade or so. Two WWF perception surveys released earlier this year also highlighted how dangerous it is to be a ranger in Africa and Asia, with 73 percent of the rangers surveyed saying they had experienced a life-threatening situation on duty in interactions with wildlife or poachers. Worryingly, 66 percent said they do not have the right equipment to ensure their safety and 45 percent believe they have not had adequate training.
“On World Ranger Day, we stand with all remarkably brave men and women, and especially honour those who paid the ultimate price while striving to protect the world’s remaining wildlife and wild places for the benefit of us all,” said Sean Willmore, president of the IRF and director of the Thin Green Line Foundation.
Early morning is the peak time of animal activity and therefore rangers typically wake up at 4am for their first 2 – 3 hour patrol.
Ranger’s work is dynamic and covers six key areas:
engaging local communities,
managing fires and
assisting with tourism.
Rangers are the eyes and ears of the forest, protecting wildlife and the landscape is the key purpose behind their patrolling. Rangers record sightings of the different species they see. They carry cameras to photograph their findings as well as equipment to record the GPS location.
The length and type of patrol depends on the area but on average rangers patrol 10-15km a day.
Whilst out on patrols, rangers are not just looking for signs of wildlife, but signs of illegal activity too. Poaching and the illegal wildlife trade are the most immediate threat to many species. Rangers will record the signs and location of illegal activity, as well as removing traps that they find along their patrols.
Rangers are involved in guiding tourists around national parks, often in vehicles, as their in-depth knowledge of wildlife and behaviour is useful for species spotting. It is clear that a ranger’s work is critical to ensuring a safe future for natural areas. Yet rangers don’t always get the support they need. Many of these men and women not only work in dangerous and harsh conditions, they often do so with low pay, little or no support and inadequate equipment.
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