The role of a wildlife ranger is vital if we are to win the war against wildlife crime. Without rangers, there would be no hope for critically endangered species like elephants and rhinos in their natural habitats, which they are fighting to protect.
Working in some of the planet’s most extreme and dangerous environments, anti-poaching rangers do one of the toughest jobs in the world. They work tirelessly day and night in often hostile conditions to protect wildlife on the conservation front line.
The role of a wildlife ranger
The responsibilities of a wildlife ranger can vary from day-to-day, and cover anything from park protection, to law enforcement and community outreach. Some of the main activities that David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation (DSWF) funds for rangers to undertake across Africa and Asia include:
- Carrying out anti-poaching and anti-trafficking patrols across national parks.
- Locating and removing wildlife snares which pose threats to all wildlife.
- Collecting vital data on endangered species and their habitats.
- Responding to reports of wildlife crime and gathering intelligence on illegal activity.
- Working with communities to raise awareness and mitigate wildlife conflict.
What threats do rangers face?
Many wildlife rangers have tragically been killed in the line of duty protecting wildlife.
The threats to wildlife ranger’s safety include:
- Heavily armed and highly organised poachers – according to current global statistics, two rangers lose their lives in the line of duty every week.
- Distressed animals, often in a traumatised state due to human-wildlife conflict, who may attack or lash out in fear.
- Harsh treatment from other community members, who have in the past disregarded wildlife protection as a credible form of employment.
- The risks associated with dangerous and harsh landscapes, where rangers often face gruelling conditions due to extreme weather, long and arduous hours with limited communication or fast access to help when needed.
- Wildlife rangers are sadly often under-resourced and under-supported which can severely hinder their daily work when up against organised and well-funded criminal gangs and syndicates.
- Rangers are fighting a war on wildlife crime and sadly in the last ten years over 1,000 rangers have died doing their jobs. We must support these selfless individuals who put their lives on the line every day to protect endangered species.
“We can’t sit back and let them fight alone, they are at the forefront of species protection and need our support if we are all to enjoy and see wildlife and some of the world’s most pristine and precious habitats flourish.”Georgina Lamb, Chief Executive of DSWF
How DSWF helps wildlife rangers in Africa
DSWF has been supporting wildlife rangers in Africa for over thirty years. From the Kafue National Park in Zambia to the deserts of Namibia, DSWF has always acknowledged the vital role that these selfless individuals play in conserving Africa’s most endangered species, often against difficult odds.
How DSWF helps wildlife rangers in Asia
DSWF’s support of rangers in Asia spreads from the Russian Far East to the Dong Phayanyen-Khao Yai Forest Complex in Thailand. Their tireless efforts are a testament to the success of our ground-based conservation partners who provide unwavering operational, training and welfare support.