I am thankful for rangers. Without rangers, our parks would be nothing but lines on a map. Without rangers, species targeted by poachers would be in a much worse state than they are now. Without rangers, the communities that live around parks would be much less well informed and much less willing to sustainably manage nature. Without rangers, we would know so much less about our parks. Without rangers, there would be much less rewarding tourism experiences in our parks. Without rangers, the ecosystems on which we all depend would be in a much worse state.
I am thankful for all these things. I am thankful for rangers.
Despite the important role that rangers play, they are–on a global scale–very poorly trained and supported. A recent WWF study that I was involved in found that:
- 63 percent of rangers in Asia and 82 percent of rangers in Africa have faced a life-threatening situation.
- 74 percent of rangers in Asia and 59 percent of rangers in Africa said that they are not provided with the required equipment and amenities to fulfill their job requirements.
- 48 percent of rangers in Asia and 42 percent of rangers in Africa said that they are inadequately trained to address the threats to biodiversity in their site.
Compare these results to a recent WWF-GWC study that showed that out of 40 countries surveyed, 18 percent did not provide rangers access to health insurance, 35 percent to life insurance, and 53 percent to long-term disability insurance. Access to insurances varied geographically, with countries in Africa and Asia providing much lower access than elsewhere. Clearly rangers are doing a dangerous job with inadequate support.
Rangers put their life on the line, and often their family life on hold for the wildlife and wild places that we treasure. Thank you for all you do, rangers!
(Photo by Barney Long/WWF-US)