Working towards better boots on the ground

Posted on 17 August 2018

Some 90 rangers are being trained on Wildlife Law Enforcement
Bhutan’s exquisite wildlife is facing pressure from poaching and illegal logging. Rangers are the first, and often the only, line of defense between poachers and wildlife. Everyday these committed men and women run the risk of being confronted by armed loggers, poachers or even the wildlife they are working to defend. In spite of these threats, rangers often have no formal training. Some may have undergone ad hoc training, but there is no systematic training and associated facility to ensure that rangers are well trained for their challenging positions. The Ranger training on wildlife law enforcement would not only improve their ability to do their job (protect wildlife and their habitats), but also keep the rangers, our wildlife heroes, safer when they are in the field.
In order to facilitate this, some 90 rangers are being trained by an expert on wildlife law enforcement from the WWF. Crispian Barlow has over 20 years of experience as a Ranger in South Africa. Before that he was part of the Hong Kong police force for a few decades.
“Often one hears park managers saying they need more rangers, more boots on the ground. I believe that with proper training and proper equipment and good leaders, most of the existing rangers they want to be able to do it, they have the enthusiasm but they are lacking in some basic skills. This training will help them build confidence and competence and more importantly will give them confidence in their competence. Basically better boots on the ground.”
said Crispian Barlow, Wildlife Law Enforcement Exert from WWF.
During the training the rangers will be trained on various tactical skills such as apprehension and detaining of suspects correctly and legally and recognizing and identifying signs and evidence of illegal or restricted activities in the field among many other skills.
“Poachers are better equipped and have better tactics basically they are one step ahead of us most of the time. Trainings like these are helpful for us to gain the upper hand while dealing with poachers and their illegal activities.” said Yeshi Yangdon, a wildlife Ranger with the Sarpang Forest Division.
Illegal wildlife trade is becoming a serious threat to conservation around the globe and Bhutan is no exception.
 “We need to enhance the capacity of our rangers and I think it is the right time for WWF to train all rangers in Bhutan to fight illegal wildlife trade.” said Phurba Lhendup, Wildlife Practice Manager of WWF Bhutan
The training is currently being conducted in Sarpang. For now, participants from the Sarpang Forest Division and Paro Forest Division are being trained. Participants from the 
Royal Manas National Park, Phibsoo Wildlife Sanctuary and Jumotshangkha Wildlife Sanctuary will be trained next week.
Additional Information
TRAINING NAMERangers training for wildlife law enforcement
Duration- Five Days (August 13-17, 2018) & (August 20-24, 2018)
Venue- Southern Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Center & Phibsoo Range, Sarpang
Expected participants: 90 ( Sarpang forest division, Paro Forest Division, Royal Manas National Park, Phibsoo Wildlife Sanctuary, Jomotshangkha Wildlife Sanctuary) 
At the successful conclusion of this training, the learner will be equipped with the knowledge of and skills to implement or assist with:
  • Use compass and chart or map for navigation and orientation
  • Use GPS for geo-referencing locations and for navigation and orientation
  • Draw sketch maps from field data
  • A basic knowledge of wildlife legislation and criminal laws
  • Apprehend and detain suspects correctly and legally
  • Searches
  • Conduct patrol and enforcement activities in the field
  • Participate in patrol activities safely, effectively and with discipline
  • Knots bends & hitches
  • Move safely across the terrain
  • Water crossings
  • Recognize and identify signs and evidence of illegal or restricted activities in the field
  • Correctly secure, manage and process a crime scene
  • Follow correct procedure for dealing with violations, seized or confiscated evidence
  • Report on patrol activities
  • Treat members of the public with respect and understanding
For Further information, please contact:
Kuenley Tenzin, Asst Program Officer, WWF Bhutan, Thimphu Bhutan
Tel +975 17687456
Tenzin Rabgye, Communications Officer, WWF Bhutan, Thimphu Bhutan
Tel +975 17315191
Rangers brushing up on their topographical skills
© Tenzin Rabgye/ WWF-Bhutan
© Tenzin Rabgye/ WWF-Bhutan
Rangers having some fun during an exercise on what NOT to do.
© Phurba Lhendup/WWF Bhutan
© Tenzin Rabgye/ WWF-Bhutan
© Tenzin Rabgye/ WWF-Bhutan
© Tenzin Rabgye/ WWF-Bhutan