What is the ‘day in the life’ of a ranger?
On any given day, a ranger may spend his day working on a number of tasks. These include:
- Patrolling duties to look out for poaching and any other illegal activities such as tree felling, wounded animals, etc. and monitor conditions in the park, reserve, forest, etc. In vast areas, rangers can spend days, weeks even, trekking in the field, often camping out or living in remote guard posts.
- Law enforcement duties – gathering information on poaching incidents and tip-offs, monitoring and analysing poaching data.
- Visiting local markets, shops and restaurants to check on any illegal sale of wildlife products.
- Outreach activities such as assisting with guided tours, promoting understanding and appreciation of nature, reaching out to local communities living in or around the park.
- Visitor management e.g. informing park visitors of the do’s and don’ts of visit protocols.
- Facility management i.e. ensuring that the park, its facilities and equipment are clean, properly maintained and safe for visitor use.
- Assist in wildlife management projects, including surveys and monitoring of wildlife, setting up camera traps.
- Paper work – attending to administrative and clerical duties, preparing, reviewing and implementing reports, submissions, management plans, development proposals and environmental impact assessments.
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which provide insights into the work of rangers on WWF-supported project sites.
Do rangers risk their lives to save tigers?
Yes. In some cases, rangers were shot at by armed poachers or attacked by tigers and other wildlife. In India’s Kaziranga Tiger Reserve, hundreds of rangers have either lost their lives or been permanently disabled due to attacks by rhino and tigers while patrolling the park’s tall grasslands.
In some areas where decades of poverty have fuelled resentment and insurgent movements are rife, there have been clashes between the militants and park staff, resulting in deaths including park rangers.
An example of this comes from India’s Simlipal Tiger Reserve, where left wing extremists completely destroyed the park’s entire protection infrastructure, jeopardizing the lives of many park rangers.
The same risks also afflict the WWF-supported community-based anti-poaching patrols in places like Nepal. These patrols consist mainly of volunteers from the community.
What law enforcement powers do rangers have?
These vary from country to country. In some countries, rangers have powers to arrest poachers while in others they will turn them over to the police.
In India, all forest officers and police officers above a certain rank have the powers to carry out search, seize any incriminating tools etc., and arrest without warrant, any suspect under the provisions of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.
In Nepal, the Chief Warden of a park is vested with the power to convict a poacher and sentence him/her for the crime. In Bhutan, rangers and anti-poaching team members have the power to arrest poachers and cases are fought in court by the Department of Forest.
What is the cost per ranger per day?
The daily upkeep of a ranger varies from country to country. Below are cost estimates of maintaining a ranger unit in different tiger range countries.
- In Sumatra, Indonesia, US$30,000 can support WWF’s tiger patrol unit to operate for a year. Each of these patrol units comprise 5-6 rangers who spend nearly 20-22 days a month in the forest, trying to remove snares and apprehend poachers.
- In Nepal, it costs ₤16,000 a year to establish and mobilize a fully equipped mobile squad, ₤5,000 to build one guard post, and ₤10 to send a patrol squad of 10 out for 7 hours.
How much do rangers get paid?
Salaries of rangers in tiger range countries vary from country to country. In India, a forest guard at the lower hierarchy can earn INR 7,000 (approximately US$150) a month while another at the higher level can earn double the amount.