Tell Ranger Iylia you care, send a postcard today!
A ranger’s work is rather varied as she explains. Their main job is to protect the area to make sure no hunting, fishing or logging takes place.
Keeping order in the ParkSo they go on patrol, talk to tour guides to encourage them to organize wildlife viewing tours instead of fishing, and also help to mitigate human-wildlife conflict. There have been cases of tigers and elephants straying out of the forests into neighbouring villages.
If they find any signs of poaching, they will call the police and wildlife department to help with investigation. “My main concern is safety of the rangers as most poachers these days carry firearms, while we are not armed at all,” said Iylia.
A need for more committed rangersShe wishes for more rangers in Belum to lighten the workload. But she will be the first to say it is no use having more rangers who are not committed to their work nor love what they are doing.
She clearly does and is also proud of her work-place, counting the many wild animals – tigers, elephants, etc. – found in Belum and that it is the only place in the world which has three species of Rafflesia, the world’s largest flower.
Record-setting flowerIn June, Belum made history when a Rafflesia with 10 petals was found blooming in the park; these flowers usually have five petals although a seven-petal specimen was recorded also in Belum last year.
There is a group of people who Iylia said would make good forest rangers. These are the Orang Asli, the indigenous people of Peninsular Malaysia.
Drawing from local knowledgeUnfortunately most do not have the prerequisite minimum formal education to be appointed as forest rangers although they are knowledgeable about Belum’s forest and lake.
Nonetheless, the park hires them to assist the forest rangers. Iylia does her best to encourage them to go for formal studies so they can obtain the minimum qualification and become forest rangers.
Thirsty for moreAlways one to learn from others, Iylia is happy to receive advice from the experienced rangers of Taman Negara, Malaysia’s oldest national park. “Royal Belum is still new, so we have the opportunity to set it in the right direction,” she said.
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A love for forest is a must. If you are taking this job merely to make a living, forget it. You won’t last long. I give you six months at most.