|North Luangwa Conservation Programme anti-poaching staff. Photo by Michelle Gadd/USFWS|
Today is World Ranger Day, a day when we can take a moment to celebrate the often thankless and always dangerous work rangers do around the world to protect wildlife.
We also take a moment to acknowledge and honor rangers injured or killed in the line of duty. It is a dangerous calling to stand watch over the world’s imperiled wildlife, and unfortunately, is getting more and more dangerous as poaching for rhinos, tigers, elephants and other species has increased and trafficking in wildlife contraband has escalated.
In the past year, at least 52 rangers, game rangers, forest guards and wardens have lost their lives in the line of duty (reported by the International Ranger Federation). In the past decade, more than 1,000 rangers have been killed.
Rangers are our first line of defense against poachers who threaten the survival of some of the world’s best known and most loved species. Tragically, poaching is taking the lives of wildlife and of numerous people dedicated to protecting them.
In a report released today, African Parks remembers that poachers recently caused “the tragic deaths of two of our Garamba rangers and two members of the Congolese Armed Forces who were assisting us with patrols in the park.”