- Date: July 31, 2012
As guardians of nature, rangers are the men and women on the frontlines of conservation. They are perhaps the most important protectors of the world’s natural and cultural treasures.
As ambassadors for wildlife, rangers work to ensure that communities around the world live in harmony with the tigers, rhinos and elephants in their backyards. They patrol some of the least hospitable parts of our planet on land and in water. Rangers are the first line of defense as the poaching crisis escalates and wildlife crime spreads its tentacles.
Often unarmed and ill-equipped, rangers still take on armed poachers. In December 2011, illegal loggers severely beat Mary Ashu and another female ranger in Cameroon. The two were stripped of their epaulettes and held for ransom. After being freed, Ashu lodged a complaint with the justice department but no concrete action has yet been taken against her suspected assailants.
The fight against poaching can sometimes be deadly for rangers as well. In 2012, the International Ranger Federation reported more than 60 rangers died in the line of duty. More than half of those deaths were homicides. WWF honors the fallen and salutes the dedication of those who continue to put nature first and themselves a distant second.
Support and Training
At WWF, we know that training and education for local communities is critical for conservation. For nearly two decades, WWF’s Russell E. Train Education for Nature Program (EFN) has provided support and training to conservation leaders—including rangers—in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. The program teaches the skills and knowledge required to address the conservation challenges participants will face at home. Since 1994, EFN has supported training for over three thousands park rangers from more than 20 countries.