Tell Ranger Naresh you care, send a postcard today!
That was in May 2012 and Naresh, a patrol officer with the park, has never been prouder of his work. He and his colleagues were tasked with setting up camera traps to try to capture photos of tigers and other wildlife living in the park.
Originally from Kampaengpetch province in northern Thailand, Naresh joined the Mae Wong National Park in 1996. In 1999, he was transferred to the park’s Mae Reva forest unit. That was the year, which saw a significant amount of illegal logging activities in the park. The patrol officers were able to arrest all the culprits.
Risking life and limbThat success was, however, without any cost. Between 1999-2002, Naresh often was threatened by the villagers whom he had arrested for illegal logging. So he had to take extra care both on and off work.
“I had to be on my guard all the time just like when patrolling the forest,” said Naresh. “Then we had to be on guard as we don’t know when we would encounter wild animals or hunters.”
It was during one of these patrols that he chanced upon a nursing Asiatic black bear. He ran away as fast as he could, fearful of getting hurt. That night, the patrol team didn’t sleep at all.
The patrol path in Mae Wong also poses a risky challenge to the rangers. The park is set in the mountain range. The rangers therefore have to trek along the mountain shoulder, climbing cliffs, and reaching places which are not readily accessible to people.
Patrolling 3-5 days, carrying heavy equipment and personal belongings weighing 20 kilograms on their backs, is physically demanding work. The patrol officers have to be physically fit and are trained to build up their strength. They also receive skills training in conducting fieldwork from their seniors.
Working with love“I am really happy that we were able to provide evidence that our forest still has tigers,” said Naresh, referring to the photos of tigers taken by the camera traps. “Through my work, I have understood and been made aware of the number of tigers here. Now I have seen them.”
Naresh hopes that more people understand and appreciate the work of the rangers, why it is that they work so tirelessly to protect the forests and wildlife.
For Naresh, it is all about working with love – love for the forest and wildlife.
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I am really happy that we were able to provide evidence that our forest still has tigers,” said Naresh, referring to the photos of tigers taken by the camera traps. “Through my work, I have understood and been made aware of the number of tigers here. Now I have seen them.