Posted on 31 July 2022
The International Ranger Federation and Universal Ranger Support Alliance (URSA) is honouring and celebrating wildlife rangers around the world for World Ranger Day on July 31. This year’s celebration focuses on the diversity of the ranger workforce, including places they work, types of jobs they perform, and the countries and communities they hail from and work alongside.
“Rangers are incredibly important guardians of biodiversity and ecosystems. They are participating in reducing climate which benefits local communities and broader society,” said Chris Galliers, president of International Ranger Federation (IRF). “They work in a diversity of environments around the world and whilst carrying out this critical work of protecting things we rely on–such as clean water and air—they face many threats. These threats can be life threatening and so as environmental health professionals, rangers need our support.”
More than 80% of surveyed rangers around the world have identified the support of communities as necessary in order to effectively do their jobs. As a result, URSA is also helping IRF ranger associations build trust in the communities with whom they work. It compiles the best practices from rangers around the world that can help prevent, minimize or mitigate tension and conflict between rangers and communities with whom they have contact. URSA’s new global social safeguards, work standards, and policy support a more diverse and safer sector.
The International Ranger Federation (IRF) with the Thin Green Line Foundation released its annual Roll of Honour ahead of World Ranger Day. One hundred fifty Rangers tragically lost their lives on the job during the past year. The figure is higher than the numbers reported in 2020 and the second highest number of ranger deaths recorded since recording started in 2006.
The Roll of Honour illustrates a troubling trend for the ranger profession. A recent paper tallied and analyzed the deaths of rangers worldwide between 2006 and 2021. The statistics showed that on average two rangers died while on the job every week. The leading causes of death were homicide and occupational or work-related incidents, such as firefighting and wildlife attacks.
“Although rangers have dangerous jobs, they are still rescuing people and wildlife after natural disasters, mitigating human-wildlife conflict, and curbing poaching,” said Olga Biegus, URSA programme manager. “They will be key players as we respond to climate change and protect biodiversity.”
Rangers, who often have many different titles around the world, protect nearly 15% of the earth’s land mass and 7% of its oceans. The areas they protect include national parks, communally-owned wild landscapes, coastal systems and cultural heritage sites, many of which are highly visited places by tourists.
WWF is one of eight partners in the Universal Ranger Support Alliance (URSA). URSA was formed in response to the Chitwan Declaration, a detailed list of needs and priorities for rangers — including calls to strengthen ranger capacity, introduce welfare standards, build ranger-community relationships, mainstream gender equality, leverage technology, and promote further inclusion of Indigenous and community rangers.
For more information, visit: ursa4rangers.org
WWF is an independent conservation organization, with over 30 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.
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