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Media Release: Deputy Minister of Environmental Affairs, Ms Barbara Thomson, Unveils Ranger Monument at Kruger National Park

01 August 2014

The Monument acknowledges the contribution of past, present and future rangers to conservation in South Africa, and the world. The event marked the seventh anniversary of World Ranger Day held in memory of rangers who have lost their lives in the line of duty and to honour those who risk their lives daily to protect endangered species and other natural resources. 

'Nowhere is the importance of Rangers more clearly illuminated than in the fight against rhino poaching',  said Ms Thomson.  

The Deputy Minister added: ' As government we need to boost the morale of rangers by showing them their battle against poachers and other environmental crimes are not in vain. We want to tell you that we understand and fully appreciate that rhino poaching goes much deeper than mere physical security. Social and economic problems such as unemployment and poverty are part of the problem.  

'In other words, it is a multi-dimensional problem that extends beyond provincial borders, countries and government departments, and we are committed to develop a multi-dimensional combat strategy in support of your efforts.' 

The unveiling ceremony was held as the number of rhino poached in South Africa since 1 January 2014 increased to 618.  

Since January this year 618 rhino have been killed in South Africa 400 in the Kruger National Park.  A total of 82 rhino have been killed for their horn in Limpopo, 52 in KwaZulu-Natal, 40 in North West and 24 in Limpopo. 

A total of 172 alleged poachers have been arrested. 

The Ranger Monument comprises parts of the Leadwood Tree; a tree that has survived where others have disappeared from the landscape. The Leadwood is the epitomy of  longevity, outlasting many challenges and is a true icon of the Lowveld savanna.

' The rangers of the Kruger National Park, like the Leadwood, have survived for more than 100 years. Through their strength of spirit, their resilience to the hardships and dangers they face almost daily, the rangers will survive and continue to stand tall,' said Ms Thomson.

The Monument depicts the two Life Lines of the hand of rangers. 

The dominant wall represents the Life Line on the rangers hand, representing the rangers lives which are dedicated to serve the broad ideals of conservation.

The complementary wall illustrates the Stewardship responsibility of all people, particularly the rangers life as defending and conserving all creatures and natural places. 

The two walls together form the Place.  This is a reflection and contemplation of the lives dedicated to serve the responsibilities of all Mankind. 

The Cain provides for the traditional tribute to the memory of lives well lives those of the rangers who make a difference in the world.  

South Africans and members of the international community are encouraged to report incidents of poaching and tip-offs to the anonymous tip-off lines 0800 205 005, 08600 10111 or Crime-Line on 32211.

Rhino poaching statistics

KNP (SANParks) 146 252 425 606  400
MNP (SANParks) 0 6 3 3  0
MPNP (SANParks) 0 0 0 0  1
GP 15 9 1 8  3
LIM 52 74 59 114  82
MP 17 31 28 92  24
NW 57 21 77 87  40
EC 4 11 7 5  10
FS 3 4 0 4  4
KZN 38 34 66 85  52
WC 0 6 2 0  1
NC 1 0 0 0  1
TOTAL 333 448 668 1004  618

Rhino poaching arrests statistics

KNP (SANParks)  69 133 73 82 67
MNP (SANParks)  0 0 0 0 0
MPNP (SANParks) 0 0 0 0  0
Gauteng (GP)  6 10 26 16 10
Mpumalanga (MP)  2 34 66 73 16
Eastern Cape (EC)  0 0 0 2 7
Limpopo (LIM)  38 70 43 34 36
North West (NW)  11 26 32 21 2
Free State (FS)  0 7 6 0 0
KZN  46 63 20 4 25
Western Cape (WC)  0 0 0 0 2
Northern Cape (NC)  0 1 0 0
TOTAL  172 343 267 232 165


1. Unveiling of the Ranger monument today at Paul Kruger Gate in the KNP. 

World Ranger Day

Clockwise – The Managing Executive: Corporate Services at SANParks - Ms wanda mkutshulwa, Executive Mayor: Bushbuckridge Local Municipality, Cllr Renias Khumalo, SANParks Board Chairperson - Mr Kuseni Dlamini, Deputy Minister of Environmental Affairs - Ms Barbara Thomson, the Acting Chief Executive Officer of SANParks, Mr Abe Sibiya and the KNP’s Acting Managing Executive, Mr Danie Pienaar.

2. Ms Barbara Thomson reads the wording on the Leadwood tree plaque. Looking on is Cllr Renias Khumalo (right), Mr Kuseni Dlamini (middle left) and Mr Abe Sibiya (left).

World Ranger Day

The Leadwood tree is compared to the Rangers in terms of its resilience and longevity; as it survives where others disappear from the landscape. 

3. The SANParks Rangers surround the Deputy Minister, Ms Barbara Thomson as she talks to the media at the World Ranger Day celebration. 

World Ranger Day

4. KNP Rangers perform the drill at the World Ranger Day celebration

World Ranger Day

5. The Officer Commanding: Special Projects, Maj Gen (Ret) Johan Jooste reads the Rangers manifesto at the celebration

World Ranger Day

6. SANParks choppas flying past while the KNP’s Voices of the Wild choir entertain the guests

World Ranger Day


Issued by:
The Department of Environmental Affairs and SANParks.

Albi Modise - Environmetal Affairs
Tel:083 490 2871


Reynold Thakhuli - SANParks


William Mabasa - SANParks

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