The perilous 1,000-mile journey to save Africa’s endangered black rhinos
28 Oct 2022
Field rangers in Africa often find themselves in the middle of war zones and other challenging conditions, including experiencing pressure from the communities in which they live. During the training of field rangers, African Field Ranger Training Services, a division of the Southern African Wildlife College, focuses on preparing and developing individuals to meet these challenges head on.
The rangers are often placed in close proximity to their homes and villages and have to deal with situations that most of us would not care to confront. For example, they might walk into a situation where they have to arrest friends, family or colleagues, or be asked to take a bribe by providing information that will assist poaching syndicates.
The recent spate of field ranger arrests has highlighted the need to prepare trainee field rangers to deal with these types of situations. Threats, intimidation and bribes in various forms can derail the training a field ranger has received and additional efforts are being made to prepare them for these situations.
The response to the revised training interventions has been very positive. It has also capitalised on using field rangers already working in the field to help mentor trainee field rangers. During a recent training intervention, 120 National Treasury Jobs Fund learners, who are to be deployed back to their workplaces in various provinces of South Africa, spent time with Kruger National Park rangers, who have proven their commitment and honesty.
These courageous and committed men and women, many of whom are at the top of their law enforcement careers, made an indelible impression on the younger learners. With a proven track record of being incorruptible, they have helped convince these learners to remain true to their calling. Coupled with this, is the healthy spirit and teamwork during training that support any field ranger who may be challenged to deviate from the moral and honest path required for law enforcement.
The Southern African Wildlife College, together with its training partners, solutes these men and women, who are on the front line of protecting Africa’s natural resources, often at considerable personal risk. As World Ranger Day approaches, we look forwarding to celebrating the work that field rangers do. In so doing we also commemorate the many field rangers who have lost their lives, or have been injured in the line of duty. As a wildlife training institution, we remain committed to carrying out our mandate to ensure that field rangers receive the necessary training to prepare them for the challenges that lie ahead.
World Ranger Day is observed annually on 31 July and is promoted by the 63 member associations of the International Ranger Federation, by its partner the Thin Green Line Foundation, and by individuals who support its work and that of rangers.
Issued by: The Southern African Wildlife College
Southern African Wildlife College website
Peace Parks Foundation stands with rangers on this World Ranger Day and salutes all those who risk their lives to protect the world’s natural and cultural treasures. Click here for information on the foundation’s support to rangers in their work.