Imagine going out and searching for rhinos each day. One day, you come across a rhino and her calf. It’s the mother’s first calf since she was been introduced to your area, a sign that she’s healthy, happy and thriving. You regularly spot the mother and calf next to a small acacia tree. Each time, you record the time and location, if they were feeding, or with any other rhinos. As weeks pass by, it’s a joy to spend time watching the calf play, learn and grow.
One day you get a call over the radio: poachers have got into the park, they’ve already got to a rhino and now they’re trying to escape. The poached rhino was found by the small acacia tree. It’s your job now to track the poaching gang through the park and arrest them.
This is a story that none of us want to imagine, let alone live. But it’s a reality for rangers. They are the people that see rhinos and other wildlife every day, experiencing some of the best that our natural world has to offer, but also seeing some of the worst scenes we can think of. And, when those horrific incidents take place, they are the people responding first, putting themselves in danger to stop armed criminals ready to do whatever it takes to escape with a rhino horn.
And, rangers often do all of this with old equipment, infrequent training, and basic living areas while they’re on duty. They do an extremely tough job that is critical to the survival of rhinos and other endangered species.
For all of these reasons, rangers deserve our support!
In the past year, we’ve worked with many of our partners to improve equipment, provide training and boost wellbeing for rangers working to protect wildlife. Together with ForRangers, we’ve sent £639,376 to field programmes in Kenya, Namibia, Nigeria, Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Here’s what a few of the grants achieved:
- In May and June 2020, ForRangers provided rations for rangers working in conservancies across the Laikipia County of Kenya, relieving conservancy’s budgets and maintaining team morale during the challenging times of Covid-19
- We renewed life insurance policies for rangers across Kenya, supporting rangers needing hospital treatment and also to the families of any rangers killed in the line of duty. Very sadly, on 24 June 2020, when rangers were asked to intervene after a nearby community conservancy had had livestock stolen by a gang, one ranger was killed by the rustlers and another ranger from suffered a bullet wound. The life insurance policy provides immediate financial support in such cases
- In the Democratic Republic of Congo, 235 pairs of trail running shoes were bought, allowing the team to complete their fitness and daily running requirements
“Providing rangers with appropriate and durable fitness equipment, like running shoes, in order to safely carry out drills, maintain optimal physical fitness levels to combat the challenging terrain, and enable positive outlets to release stress is critical for the rangers’ wellbeing and ultimately their performance in the field.”
Programme Officer, Democratic Republic of Congo.
All of these grants, big or small, have a big impact when men and women are facing the challenges that rangers face every day.
On World Ranger Day, we want to say a huge Thank You to every ranger. We may never want to imagine just what some parts of their job are like, hopefully we will never have to, but we also can’t imagine what would happen without them.
This World Ranger Day, 100% of all donations are going to ForRangers, supporting rangers on the frontline. Please donate if you can.