Media Release: World Ranger Day celebrated at Addo Elephant National Park
31 July 2014
World Ranger Day is observed on the 31st of July each year. It is the day to commemorate the many rangers killed or injured in the line of duty and to celebrate rangers and the work they do to protect the world’s natural and cultural treasures. World Ranger Day is promoted by the 54 member associations of the International Ranger Federation (IRF). The first World Ranger Day was observed in 2007 on the 15th anniversary of the founding of the IRF
SANParks’ Frontier Region’s rangers, from Addo Elephant, Camdeboo, Karoo and Mountain Zebra National Parks put on an impressive display of their skills, including aerial surveys, ground patrols, dealing with suspected poachers, first aid on a gunshot victim and vehicle stop and searches. Senior members from the parks, as well as a number of Honorary Rangers from the region attended the day’s festivities.
On a daily basis throughout the world, as in South Africa, rangers put their lives in danger to take care of and protect our natural environment. With the current onslaught of rhino poaching in South Africa, they are usually the last line of defense between a rhino and a poacher.
South Africa is home to approximately 22 000 white and black rhinoceros. The South African population is one of the last viable rhino populations in the world, which makes its survival crucial. By mid-July, 558 rhino’s had already perished in South Africa. Thankfully, SANParks in the region has not suffered any losses as yet.
Regional General Manager, Dries Engelbrecht, said “We remember our injured and fallen colleagues the world over not only today, but every morning as we get ready to carry on fighting for the same things they did. We also, on days like today, thank the rangers doing duty by protecting the biodiversity which we one day hope to leave behind for our children to enjoy. Even though threats increase daily, they are all here because they have a passion for what they do and believe in this very worthy cause – protecting our environment for generations to follow.”
“We must also not forget about our voluntary Honorary Rangers. These individuals volunteer their free time and effort and don’t get paid a cent for the work they do assisting our rangers out in the field. What they do, whether over weekends or at night, is simply for the love of conservation. For that, we thank you all,” concluded Engelbrecht.
Rangers from four South African National Parks in the region converged on Addo Elephant National Park today to commemorate World Ranger Day. They put on a simulated rhino poaching incident:
1. Ground patrols moving in on the suspected poachers.
2. Rangers surrounding a suspected poacher which was shot and killed in the simulation.
3. Rangers attending to one of their own who was injured in the crossfire with the suspected poachers.
4. A suspected poacher being arrested, and subsequently having his rights read to him.
5. A suspected poacher being whisked off to the nearest police station for official charges.
South African National Parks (SANParks) Frontier Region Communications
Tel: 082 888 0201
Regional Manager: Communications, SANParks
Cell: 082 888 0201