This World Ranger Day, we celebrate our brave conservation heroes and rangers, and highlight how they’ve coped with the challenges of the past year during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our featured rangers put a spotlight on key areas where they have been affected most (such as poaching and endangered species), the tourism industry that came to a standstill, the impact on local communities, and the importance of getting youth involved in conservation.
Mohammed Sani Abdullahi is a ranger in Kamuku National Park, Nigeria. He’s passionate about getting young people involved in conservation. “Young people need to become more interested in wildlife conservation. It gives them the opportunity to understand nature better.”
Mohammed Hassan Danjuma is a park ranger in Kamuku National Park, Nigeria. One of the major challenges he’s faced as a ranger is the difficulty of tracking the movement of elephant populations within the protected areas that he helps to conserve, as well as along their migratory corridors. “Because of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, it is now more important than ever for young people to become interested in wildlife conservation, and to help protect our natural environment.”
Medard Twongyeirwe is a ranger in Uganda’s Mgahinga conservation area. He patrols and is involved in community conservation education, in which he teaches the benefits of conservation, especially the protection of the mountain gorilla. “During this time of the pandemic, poachers have increased because many people are not working but they need to have something to put on their tables. With few resources flowing in, and despite being faced with life risking challenges, we continue serving and working as rangers.”
Tinashe Chandiwana is a ranger from Imire Rhino and Wildlife Conservancy in Zimbabwe. Because of travel restrictions during Covid-19 pandemic, it has resulted in a tremendous impact on the tourism industry that supports conservation. “But now, tourism is open! Get tested, come to Imire, because money that comes from tourism supports rangers.”
Norest Williams is a ranger from Imire Rhino and Wildlife Conservancy in Zimbabwe. Norest loves rhinos and is living his childhood dream of becoming a ranger to help preserve rhinos for present and future generations. Norest wants people to support tourism, because it creates employment for local communities. “I’m a local villager and I got employed here and I am now able to put food on my table.”
Ercilia David is a ranger at Bazaruto National Park in Mozambique. “With the Pandemic, poaching has increased because most hotels are closed and their employees are unemployed and for their survival, they have resorted to fishing. People can help rangers by spreading information on the park regulations and to report illegal fishing.”
Solange Elizabeth Bolaños Jácome is a ranger at Reserva Marina El Pelado, Ecuador. “Without us, conservation would not be successful in any part of the world. We are the people who do the work, who monitor the parks, and implement the strategies to ensure we do not lose any more wildlife.”
Patricio Urdanigo is a ranger at Parque Nacional Machalilla, Ecuador. “I am proud to be a park ranger because we represent the conservation of natural resources and protected areas. Long live World Ranger Day!”
Hugo Millan is a ranger at Galapagos National Park, Ecuador. “The COVID-19 pandemic affected us emotionally in our work but we never stopped patrolling [the Galapagos Marine Reserve]. We took all security protocols seriously because we, as colleagues, share very small spaces. So far, we have carried out our activities without problems.”
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WildAid is a non-profit organization with a mission to protect wildlife from illegal trade and other imminent threats. While most wildlife conservation groups focus on protecting animals from poaching, WildAid primarily works to reduce global consumption of wildlife products such as elephant ivory, rhino horn and shark fin soup. With an unrivaled portfolio of celebrity ambassadors and a global network of media partners, WildAid leverages more than $308 million in annual pro-bono media support with a simple message: When the Buying Stops, the Killing Can Too.
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