World Ranger Day on 31st July 2013
By: The Game Rangers’ Association of Africa Date: 29/07/2013
Rangers form the frontline in protecting our natural heritage for future generations. Their work is often dangerous, difficult, unappreciated, unrecognized, and unknown. Rangers dedicate their lives to protect what is not theirs, but ours. World Ranger Day, which is recognised by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) on the 31st July is a chance to celebrate the wonderful work that Africa’s rangers do.
Many rangers lose their lives whilst protecting our natural heritage whether it is due to sickness, fire, animal related death or increasingly to armed skirmishes with poachers. In the last year alone at least 41 of Africa’s rangers have been reported to the International Ranger Federation (IRF) as having been killed in the line of duty. There is no doubt that there are countless others whose tragic deaths have gone unrecorded. The Game Rangers’ Association of Africa (GRAA) asks the international community to join us in saluting these brave men and women who have paid the ultimate price for conservation by celebrating their lives and indeed their calling on World Ranger Day.
The Patron of the GRAA and world renowned conservationist Dr. Ian Player has recognised the crucial role that rangers play in the world today:
“The late Nick Steele who was a game ranger in the iMfolozi and Hluhluwe Game Reserves and ultimately became the director of the Department of Nature Conservation KwaZulu, once made a public statement. He said, 'Wildlife conservation is the most noble cause in the world today'. I agree wholeheartedly with that statement. All over the world game rangers, both men and women of all nationalities are the thin green line protecting wild areas on our planet. Many have been killed and others wounded this year doing their duty. The national parks, game reserves and natural areas are a lifeline for the sanity of our species. Let us all honour these wonderful men and women who daily put their lives at risk.”
Prince William, Duke of Cambridge recently expressed his support for World Ranger Day and acknowledged the brave work of rangers in the field. He thanked rangers for the sacrifices that they have made and highlighted the critical role that they play in conservation. Prince William’s support was evident in his letter addressed to the international ranger community where he said, ‘On this World Ranger Day, please know that my thoughts are with you and that I, along with so many others, are in awe of your selfless brave work, you have my total admiration.’ Let us hope other World leaders join Prince William in declaring their support for the rangers on the frontline.
The recent upsurges in rhino and elephant poaching across Africa are making the rangers’ job increasingly difficult. It is a good time to reflect on the daily challenges that these men and women face to ensure the protection of our wilderness areas and their wildlife.
Let us celebrate the work of rangers in unison on this World Ranger Day on the 31st July. They deserve not only our admiration and acknowledgement but our undivided support as they continue to ensure that the roar of the African lion be heard by the children of our children’s children and forever.
Note: As part of the African contribution to celebrating World Ranger Day, the GRAA will be hosting World Ranger Day Family Day on Sunday the 4th August 2013 at Joburg Zoo - where the public can interact with rangers and be exposed to the work they do. Tickets are available on webtickets.co.za. To support rangers go to our website for more details – www.gameranger.org
ABOUT THE GAME RANGERS’ ASSOCIATION OF AFRICA (GRAA) The Game Rangers Association of Africa (GRAA) was founded in 1970 as a non-racial, non-political organisation. The Game Rangers Association of Africa is a properly constituted association and has been registered as a non-profit organisation.
The Game Rangers Association of Africa is a longstanding and well established defined community of practice. The Game Rangers’ Association of Africa provides support, networks and representation for game rangers across Africa. The Game Rangers Association of Africa believes that game rangers should operate with pride, and with passion for their profession whilst promoting best management practices in ensuring the conservation of our natural heritage.
The Game Rangers Association of Africa believes that the continued future existence of Africa’s wilderness and its wildlife is ultimately and irrevocably linked to the expertise, ethics and motivation of those tasked with the “on the ground” protection and management of this priceless asset. This involves inter alia the conservation of the natural heritage, and the promotion of sustainable utilization of natural resources, ecotourism, community involvement and environmental education.
The Ranger in Africa has many real needs, but without real support and relevant training the Ranger will fail, and Africa’s priceless natural and cultural heritage will be lost forever. Contact:
The Game Rangers’ Association of Africa
PO Box 84420
2034 South Africa
(f) +27 86 544 5142
(t) +27 82 570 7597www.gameranger.org/ Additional:
Chairman and IRF Africa Representative
(t) +27 83 687 5961
(t) +27 83 305 3104
Business and Communications
(t) +27 82 395 9402