Wildlife Rangers – the best and worst job in the worldJuly 21, 2016
Sitting behind a computer at a desk, it’s easy to glamourize the life of a ranger in our minds.
Spending your days in the bush and experiencing wildlife encounters on a daily basis does sound pretty great! And while it definitely is a great way to spend your life, it’s also not all roses. Like any job, being a ranger comes with its own set of pros and cons. With World Ranger Day coming up on the 31st of July, we thought we delve a little deeper into what it takes to be a wildlife ranger and why it is both the best and worst job in the world.
It’s really hard work
I bet you’re thinking ‘which job isn’t?’ But being a ranger is seriously hard work. Up before dawn and the last ones to bed at night, rangers have to work very long hours and weekends. On top of this, rangers also spend long periods of time away from their families.
Living in the wild
Of course, a major perk to the job is getting to escape the everyday world and live surrounded by bush beauty. The idea of living somewhere so wild and remote does have a dreamy appeal to it, but the reality of it can be a little less than ideal. When something as simple as groceries can turn into a three-hour drive to town, one realises the luxuries of living closer to civilisation. Of course, these are things that can be overlooked when you’re waking up to the sounds of lions roaring in the distance!
Make or break an experience
The ranger who guides you on safari can often make or break the experience for you. As a ranger, there’s always a lot of pressure put on you by guests to find great sightings. Tracking skills, observance and a thorough knowledge of the area definitely helps, but in the end it all comes down to luck and timing. Whether it be a herd of impala or a dung beetle in the road, a good ranger always knows how to make any sighting interesting.
Meet people from all over the world
People travel from all four corners of the earth to go on safari in Africa. Rangers at safari lodges spend the majority of their time either guiding guests through the bush, or entertaining them back at the lodge. This means that they have the opportunity to meet and spend time with people from all over the world. It’s not uncommon for guests to form such a strong friendship with their rangers while on safari, that they book a repeat trip just to see them again!
Paid to see wildlife
Would could be better than seeing wild animals every day? Being paid to see wild animals every day! It’s a wildlife lover’s dream come true. Spending that much time in the bush, you’re bound to witness some of the most incredible wildlife encounters. On the flip side of that, with wildlife comes poaching and rangers are often placed on the frontline of the battle against poachers. This is both physically and emotionally tolling, with many rangers going above and beyond the call of duty to help protect the wildlife.
It requires a certain type of person to be a ranger; a passion for the wild, determination and dedication are just a few of the characteristics that define a good ranger. It’s more than just a job, it’s a lifestyle.
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