Don’t let them stand alone

Wednesday 31 July was World Ranger Day, an important opportunity for us to recognise and celebrate the vital work that rangers carry out every day, providing front-line protection for wildlife.

Time is running out for some of the world’s most iconic animals and if we do not act today, tomorrow will be too late.

If we have any hope of success, it is vital that we continue to support the brave men and women across Africa and Asia who are the first line of defence in the war against wildlife crime – our wildlife rangers.

Every week, two rangers die in the line of duty around the world. Please stand with our rangers and show your commitment to these amazing people by becoming a ‘Wildlife Shepherd’ and setting up a regular gift to DSWF today.

£5 a month could pay for critical ranger insurance covering emergency evacuation and protecting their family in case of tragedy

£10 a month could provide a ranger with a patrol tent, to give them shelter when staying in the field

£20 a month could pay for a new uniform, boots and rain gear for a ranger on patrol

£30 a month could contribute to a ranger’s yearly salary, supporting them to be the first line of defence protecting wildlife

You could help rangers such as Lesley from Save the Rhino Trust in Namibia…

“My name is Lesley Karutjaiva and for the last 26 years I have worked with Save the Rhino Trust as a ranger and tracker in Namibia, and I am now the Director of Field Operations.

I grew up in the area I work in now, and all my life I have been pushed by an inner voice telling me that I must protect these creatures and protect their habitats. What inspires me to do this work tirelessly every day is the question: if I am not doing it, who else will do it on my behalf?

If I’m out in the field tracking a rhino, my day will start at first light, six in the morning. Over a bite to eat, myself and the field team will discuss the area we plan to cover, and which specific rhino we plan to find. We must check each rhino individually as there are so few left, and they require the utmost protection. Once we have our plan, we’ll set out, often trekking on foot until we find the spoor (the scent or tracks) and follow it until we find the rhino. Sometimes we’ll end up walking too far from camp; on those nights, we will simply stay overnight in the field.

When we locate the rhino, we take photographs, gather the data we need and take down the GPS co-ordinates. This allow us to understand more about the rhino population and where they choose to roam. This data is essential for us to continue to protect each and every rhino.

We come across many challenges out in the field, from ensuring that the teams are equipped with everything they need for their camps including food, shelter and water to resolving family-related issues. The toughest experience is when we find a rhino senselessly killed for its horn, alongside an orphaned baby rhino. It is devasting and we do everything we can to protect the orphaned baby.

One of the things that makes our job so hard is the barren, desolate landscape that the rhinos live in, and which we must inhabit in order to support them. We face extreme heat in the day, plunging to below freezing at night. We trek across rough, rocky terrain that makes the journeys on foot exhausting.

I don’t let the challenges we face get in the way of protecting the rhino. I don’t have a choice; the environment and its rhinos belong to me as a Namibian. I have protected the rhinos for a very long time, and I will never allow these animals to be poached and become extinct.

Thank you for listening and for your support. You have already helped to make such a difference for the precious animals we are trying to protect. If you can join us and give a regular gift today, I can assure you that it will be money well spent.”

We stand with all rangers on the front line of conservation and we won’t let them fight alone.

Please join Lesley and our special group of ‘Wildlife Shepherds’ by setting up a regular gift today.