The perilous 1,000-mile journey to save Africa’s endangered black rhinos
28 October 2022
On World Ranger Day, which is celebrated on the 31st of July, Peace Parks Foundation launched an appeal for funding to support the region’s field rangers, who are playing a vital role in protecting southern Africa’s natural resources.
With wildlife crime escalating across the continent, these men and women risk their lives every day in confrontation, not only with armed poachers, but also with the very animals that they are trying to protect.
Despite their tireless efforts to intercept and apprehend well-armed and well-funded criminal gangs, often at great personal risk of being shot at themselves, rangers are not always fully appreciated. A ranger’s typical day begins at sunrise when teams move out into the bush looking for illegal snares and trapped or injured animals. Patrols are usually on foot and can extend for days on end, especially in more remote areas or areas with high levels of poaching activity.
Field rangers are usually not well paid, earning an average of $7 a day. Most are still relatively young and have families to provide for. The public expects them to risk their lives to protect our wildlife, but unfortunately do not properly equip and support them.
As funds available for protection are nowhere near the income available to criminals, rangers often have to do battle with criminals who are far better equipped than they are. This gives poachers the advantage and makes apprehending them a dangerous task.
Worldwide, an average of 100 rangers are killed in armed struggles with poachers each year.
Peace Parks Foundation has, with the support from its donors and partners, been funding the training of rangers at the Southern African Wildlife College. The dedication that these rangers, both men and women, put in daily to ensure the preservation of natural resources, deserves further recognition and appreciation by all who support conservation. This all the more so at a time when wildlife crime is ravaging Africa, thereby putting at risk the many livelihoods dependent on ecotourism, which is largely reliant on the continent’s precious wildlife.
Peace Parks Foundation is deeply grateful to the donors who immediately came to the fore to support the rangers, as well as the combat against wildlife crime.
You can support a ranger by donating towards patrolling gear such as night vision binoculars, handheld radios and food rations, the improvement of the ranger base and incentives. Please click here if you would like to help support the region’s rangers and the combat against wildlife crime.