World Ranger Day: The Heroes of Wildlife ProtectionJuly 31, 2019
Take a moment this World Ranger Day, to pause and reflect on the incredible and sometimes fatal sacrifice that rangers in Africa’s wilderness make each time they step out into the bush.
World Ranger Day is held annually on 31 July in commemoration of the rangers killed or injured in the line of duty as well as a special celebration of the vital work rangers continue to do to protect the world’s natural beauty and life within it. The International Ranger Federation together with The Thin Green Line Foundation and various organisations globally have been leading observation of this important day for 12 years now.
While wildlife poaching and illegal trafficking continues throughout Africa, if it were not for the fearless dedication and sacrifice of rangers working in the field to protect wildlife and their home, these numbers would be higher and the conservation successes fewer.
Rangers are the guardians of Africa’s animals, birds and all creatures in between, forming the backbone of the continent’s wildlife protection and nature conservation. Despite this, they often remain the unsung heroes of the region’s national parks and nature reserves.
A survey conducted by the World Wildlife Fund shows that one in every seven rangers across Asia and Central Africa have been seriously injured from mid-2017 to mid-2018. Even with new anti-poaching technology being developed constantly, major threats remain for rangers on the front line of wildlife protection. These include having to negotiate difficult terrain on an almost daily basis and encountering animals and poachers in often life-threatening situations.
Rangers play an important role in creating awareness and educating visitors to these areas about the importance of nature’s interconnected biodiversity. Without rangers, an Africa without its glorious wildlife is a possibility – imagine going on a safari without the Big 5 or any of its other species, both big or small, all of which are special in their own right.
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