CITES salutes the world’s rangers and their work to protect wildlife
31 July 2018
World Ranger Day honours park rangers across the world who have been injured or lost their lives in the line of duty. It also celebrates the vital role that rangers play in protecting our natural resources.
It is widely acknowledged that the challenges and risks rangers face have increased significantly in recent years. The involvement of organized crime groups in the illegal killing of and illicit trafficking in wildlife, particularly for some CITES-listed species such as elephants, rhinos, pangolins and rosewood has heightened the risks that rangers face.
Honest and hardworking park rangers devote their lives to protecting our natural resources and cultural heritage and, in some areas, these brave men and women regularly encounter well-resourced groups of criminals, equipped with high caliber weapons, who do not hesitate to use violence or threats of violence against them. Yet these devoted rangers determinedly perform their duties, often without the recompense allocated to their counterparts in other enforcement agencies.
The dedication and commitment shown by hard working park rangers on a daily basis is worthy of much greater public recognition and the Secretariat of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) therefore warmly welcomes World Ranger Day.
Sadly, in the past 12 months we have lost a further 128 rangers in the line of duty, as reported to the International Ranger Federation and shown in the 2018 Ranger Roll of Honour. Today, the CITES Secretariat joins the rest of the world in saluting park rangers who are serving in the front-lines, in recognition of their dedicated work to protect our natural resources and cultural heritage for current and future generations. On this special day, we also carry in our thoughts the park rangers who have paid the ultimate price in the execution of their duties, as well as the families and friends they have left behind.
The world’s governments and communities from across every nation are determined to win this fight against illegal killing and trafficking of wildlife, and while we continue to face many challenges, we are also seeing examples of great progress being made.
The International Consortium on Combatting Wildlife Crime (ICCWC), of which the CITES Secretariat is a key part, has stepped up its frontline enforcement support, and is delivering an increasing number of well-targeted activities, providing authorities with the tools, services and technical support they need to fight organized crime and corruption.
Through its Monitoring the Illegal Killing of Elephants (MIKE) programme, CITES is strengthening capacity in elephant range States at around 60 sites in Africa and 30 in Asia to manage and protect their elephant populations. With support from the European Union, MIKE has been supporting the work of park rangers and managers at these sites since 2001 by providing basic and specialized training, critical field equipment and supporting the development of infrastructure that rangers rely on to effectively carry out their duties.
On World Ranger Day 2018, we join others in thanking park rangers across the world for their tireless efforts to protect wildlife and fight crime!