Saving our wildlife on World Ranger Day
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Cape Town - Ahead of World Ranger Day on Saturday, more than 150 teams across Africa are gearing up for the 2021 Wildlife Ranger Challenge, a fundraising initiative to support thousands of the men and women on the frontline of Africa’s protected areas.
A new survey, conducted by conservation organisations Tusk and Natural State, with 60 field conservation organisations across 19 African countries, found that rangers see no relief in sight, as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to impact Africa’s communities and wildlife.
The economic stresses of Covid-19 on communities and reduced ranger presence, has resulted in an increase in poaching, but the threat is expected to increase further, with ranger capacity remaining low, and as international borders open.
Launching this week, the Wildlife Ranger Challenge will bring together rangers across 20 African countries to participate in a series of mental and physical challenges, culminating in the Wildlife Ranger Challenge 21km half marathon on September 18. The 21km race aims to support rangers in safeguarding the continent’s iconic wildlife for years to come.
Funds raised will cover the operating costs for at least 5 000 rangers, enabling them to provide for their families, protect communities and wildlife in some of the continent’s most vulnerable areas.
Sergeant Nyaradzo Hoto of the International Anti-Poaching Foundation in Zimbabwe said: “The pandemic has significantly impacted and continues to impact, our anti-poaching operations. There has been an alarming spike in the rate of ivory-related arrests made by our team over the last year. The poachers will not rest, despite the pandemic, so it is up to us to maintain operations. This is proving a challenge, but one we’re resolving well as a team. We stand strong in our commitment to patrol the vast wilderness areas we are entrusted with, and protect those that can’t fend for themselves against poachers.”
Mount Kenya Trust Senior Wildlife Community Officer Edwin Kinyanjui said in the past year, rangers have had to be more vigilant than ever, and enhance surveillance, while repeatedly putting their lives on the line.
For more information or to donate to the cause, visit: wildliferangerchallenge.org