New ranger initiative set to improve welfare and protect endangered species



Posted on 30 July 2014  | 
Rangers in training, Thailand
© WWF-Thailand / Baramee TemboonkiatEnlarge
In response to the urgent poaching crisis facing Asia and Africa, the International Ranger Federation (IRF), Ranger Federation of Asia (RFA), PAMS Foundation and WWF announced today a joint initiative to work together to improve ranger standards and welfare across Asia.

“Rangers are our frontline troops in the battle against poaching. They daily put their lives at risk and yet many are low paid, ill-equipped and poorly trained,” said Wayne Lotter, Vice President of the IRF. “It is time we worked together to ensure the men and women who dedicate their lives to protecting the world’s creatures and wild places get the respect and support they deserve.”

Rangers include wildlife wardens, forest guards, foresters, scouts, watchers and any other frontline staff involved in operations and patrolling.  The latest data from WWF covering 135 critical tiger sites showed that 64% of rangers were inadequately equipped and 66% inadequately trained.

“I have asked thousands of rangers whether they would want their children to be a ranger,” said Rohit Singh, President of the RFA. “I have never had a positive response. It’s time we made being a ranger a career to be proud of.”

The initiative will run from July 2014 to July 2017 with the aim of significantly raising the profile of rangers in the region and improving working conditions and capabilities of rangers, first in Asia and then in other critical regions. Actions will focus on raising awareness of the importance of rangers, the need for increased professionalism, development and promotion of ranger standards and welfare and will also strengthen the Ranger Federation of Asia including supporting their first meeting next year.

The initiative will initially consist of the IRF, RFA, PAMS Foundation and WWF with other organizations being engaged on a project-by-project basis.

“The survival and recovery of highly threatened species such as the tiger is dependent on an effective ranger force in Asia,” said Mike Baltzer, Leader, WWF Tigers Alive Initiative. “Without dedicated well-trained, well-equipped rangers, the tiger will go extinct. We welcome this initiative as it will take us a long way towards creating that effective and valued ranger force.”


Notes to Editor
International Ranger Federation (IRF) is a non-profit organization founded in 1992 with an objective to raise awareness and support regarding the critical work that the world’s park rangers do towards preserving our natural and cultural heritage. The IRF has a membership of over 60 ranger associations from 46 countries. More information: internationalrangers.org

Ranger Federation of Asia (RFA) was established by WWF-Tigers Alive Initiative in order to create a strong association of Asian frontline staff. The board of RFA includes Wayne Lotter of PAMS Foundation who, in his capacity as Vice President of the IRF, assisted with advice and guidance in the establishment of the organization. The RFA provides a platform to its members to share their expertise, methods, and experiences. Currently it has more than 1100 members from Cambodia, Nepal and Indonesia.
More information: rangerfederationasia.org

PAMS Foundation is a member organization of the IRF, and provides support to rangers in East Africa and works toward the development of international best practice standards and tools for rangers and protected areas. More information: pamsfoundation.org

WWF is one of the world's largest and most respected independent conservation organizations, with over 5 million supporters and a global network active in over 100 countries. WWF's mission is to stop the degradation of the Earth's natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature, by conserving the world's biological diversity, ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable, and promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption.
More information: panda.org

Contacts: Alison Harley, WWF Tigers Alive Initiative, tel: +60 12 2807 402, e-mail: aharley@wwf.org.my
 
Rangers in training, Thailand
© WWF-Thailand / Baramee Temboonkiat Enlarge
Kuiburi National Park is patrolled by a team of 18 rangers and they have a lot of ground to cover. Close to 1,200 square km - roughly the same area as Hong Kong - and home to about 230 wild elephants.
© WWF-Thailand / Sittichai Jittatad Enlarge

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