Ranger Heroes

Rangers thoughts on ‘shoot-to-kill’

On average 2 rhinos and 96 elephants are slaughtered each day.
In the last ten years over 1,000 rangers have been killed.

Should there be a shoot-to-kill policy? Would it help? The controversy is widely debated.
But what do the rangers think?

apu

I spoke to several rangers to get their thoughts.

One ranger said,

“Most of the poachers are poor locals surrounding the wildlife reserves and they see the reserves as their source of income. What is needed is to empower people near the reserves economically, pass on scheme of goats, dairy cows, sending poor children to school… they will become role models to the community and people will begin to appreciates the importance of conserving animals.

We can shoot ten poachers a day, suppose they are all men- surely their families will suffer and later become poachers as means of survival. We shoot at poachers when our lives and that of our friends are in danger but shooting down any poacher it’s not solution.”

poacher-caught-in-garamba

Apprehended poacher in Garamba.

Another who works in a large reserve said,

“I don’t think it will help because we normally look for deep information & investigations on a suspect caught that may lead to their middlemen, bosses etc.”

poacher-caught-in-2014-acquiited-caught-again-2017

These Limpopo poachers were acquitted of rhino poaching in 2014, and just caught for rhino poaching again this month, in January.

But overall most of them were in favor of the policy.

“Keeping them alive sometimes does not help because the source of poaching is dealing with big people, often from government offices. So it’s a bit risky for the rangers who arrest them.”

“This thing of arrest, it throws us backwards to winning this war of poaching. The more that are arrested, the more they are replaced by new poachers.”

“In courts things turn ugly for most of our rangers who killed poachers due to poachers kingpins paying prosecutors money to let their associates off the hook. (If it were a policy, the government would support rangers without the extensive interrogation)

“Yes, yes, yes! They should be shot. Because the rhinos are killed, but also the rangers. I think it is the only way to win this war.”

cameroon-ranger-shot-dead-by-poachers

Cameroon park ranger Bruce Danny Ngongo was shot dead in a poacher confrontation this past December. photo: Cameroon Wildlife Service

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Ranger Heroes, Rhino Ramblings | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Relentless

This must be one of the most brutal fortnights yet in the history of the rhino poaching war, in our province. At least 14 deaths were discovered in various protected areas in as many days. (I can’t go into detail at this time but it’s getting even more savage, as if that’s possible.)
Yesterday honestly rates as one of the lowest points in my life as a wildlife vet, pretty much an emotional breaking point – but it’s not the first time; it’s something that is happening far too often. I don’t think it is possible to explain to somebody who hasn’t experienced this nightmare, what even one death scene does to you. It’s traumatic and haunting, and cannot ever be erased from your mind. I’ve attended over 400!!

-From wildlife vet Dave Cooper

planting-crosses-for-fallen-rhinos-in-sa

Planting crosses for fallen rhinos in South Africa. So far, there are an estimated 731 of them this year.

The slaughter is real, the poachers are relentless. In this incident, Dr. Cooper attended a death scene of not just one more rhino, but four!

We need to be just as relentless in our efforts to curb the poaching and protect our rhinos. If you’ve ever thought about helping, there is no better time than now. Please DONATE to support APUs in Kenya and South Africa.

black-and-white-mom-and-babe-by-max-waugh

photo: Max Waugh

 

 

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Waiting Game

ranger in tall grass

photo: unknown

Broken laces,

Thin soled boots

Uniforms worn as second skin.

Rifle at ready

Watching, waiting, listening

Time ticks

As silence invites to be broken.

Night’s campfires can’t warm,

Day’s heat smothers like a thick blanket

Minds wander, sleep beckons

Time ticks

Yesterday a success

for death found neither

ranger nor rhino and

life resumes.

Will tomorrow bring the same?

The hours will tell

Time ticks

as shift draws toward a close.

Back home families wait

and wonder.

 

By Tisha Wardlow

 

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Ranger Emmah

Name: Emmanuel

Age: 24 years old

Location: Tanzania Mwanza region

Emmah ranger

Ranger Emmah

I choose to be a ranger because when I was young I got interested in wild and domestic animals.  The issue of conservation is in my blood and was also my dreams, because my father also is a veterinary.

When the time goes and the population of human beings increase, so does the issue of poaching of animals such as elephants and rhinos and antelopes. That activity make me unhappy so I told my father that I want to study in a College of Wildlife Management; when I was studying my ambition was to be working in a National Park or Game reserve.

What has been your most rewarding and most difficult moment as a ranger?

As a ranger my most rewarding time is during Summer season because of the infrastructure of road is good when moving from one place or one point to another point. The most difficult time as a ranger is during the Winter or rain season because of the infrastructure is not suitable.

How much do you work, what is your schedule like?

I work day and night, summer and winter, all seasons of the year to ensure that our wild animals who are mostly sought after by poachers are surviving and are not killed.

ugali-nyama

Ugali is a dish of flour cooked with water to a porridge- or dough-like consistency.

What’s your favorite meal?

Ma favourite meal is Ugali,Rice and meat or fish

Where would you like to travel someday?

 Here in Africa I would like to travel to South Africa and see how rhino are protected and conserved there. But the other place which I would like to travel is Europe, in a country such as the UK or France.
 
What do you think we can do to make a difference and ensure a future for rhinos?
 
 To ensure a future for our Rhino we need  to make sure that we have enough tools and equipment such as guns, cars, shoes, combat essentials, and communication equipment such as satellite phones or radios; and enough funds for the ranger for training and  good knowledge and experience in conservation issues.
 We also need to make sure that villagers and local people are well-informed about the importance of wild animals; and to destroy the market for rhinos in Asian countries.
All in all we must tell the world that only Rhino wear horns.
Emmah ranger 3

   Emmah

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How much is a ‘Thank You’ worth?

Looking for a job where you’re unappreciated? Employee must:

  •  work for minimal wages
  • work long hours, spending weeks away from family
  • sleep in the bush in rain, sun, cold and heat
  • be constantly alert for wildlife hazards (i.e snakes, cape buffalo, lions, etc)
  • may be injured or killed at any given moment

southern africa wildlife college

Sound extreme? That’s the life of a wildlife ranger. They do get appreciation from conservationists, at least in words. At “Fight for Rhinos”, we see plenty of “Thank You’s” in gratitude of their undaunting work. Unfortunately words are not enough. They need and deserve so much more.

In our current campaign “Training Rangers to Protect Rhinos”, we are raising funds to send an anti-poaching unit to human tracker training. This group has basic training, but is inexperienced with HUMAN tracking. In order to prevent more loss of rhino,  and for the safety of the rangers, we are seeking funds to send them to an Anti-Poaching Tracking Course .

A combined effort of “Go Fund Me” along with PayPal donations on our site have brought us to $600. We only need $400 more.

If all of our followers shared this story and turned their “thank you” into even $5, we would not only surpass our goal, but be able to send 13 more APUs to training!

Please help. Your little bit goes a LONG way.

Donate at Go Fund Me or Paypal on the left corner of our page.

DSCF9149

Categories: Making a Difference, Ranger Heroes, Rhino Ramblings | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How to Track a Poacher 101

southern africa wildlife college

photo: Southern Africa Wildlife College

Rangers are taught “basic training” in a short 6-8 week period of time. During this general training they learn

  • animal identification and behavior
  • bird identification
  • plant and grass identification
  • how to recognize and manage soil erosion
  • general patrol techniques
  • bush craft
  • bush survivalTracker training 4
  • first aid

This is a lot to take in during a short amount of time. Once employed, they study and learn on-the-job with senior rangers. During their time with a reserve, there is constant in-house training to enhance or maintain their skills. Additional outside training is welcomed, but can be more costly.

Rangers have some familiarity in animal tracking, but humans are  another kind of animal. Poachers are an ever-present danger. Due to the increase and intensity of poaching, it is absolutely essential for rangers to learn how to track them within their area.

Tracker training 2

Tracker training by Colin Patrick Training.

Human (or poacher) tracking teaches them

  •  Early detection of the presence of suspicious activities / presence of suspects.

  •  The systematic following of a suspects trail that can lead to the:

    •  Location of traps, snares, camps, entry and exit point, and poaching hot spots.

    •  Apprehension of the suspects whether it be trespassers or poachers

    • Gathering of invaluable intelligence on movement and operation patterns, level of skill, modus operandi,  and current weaknesses within the implemented operational plan, which will feed into the counter poaching model,

    • Gathering of evidence linking suspects to scenes of crime.

With poachers having the advantage of the element of surprise, working in groups, and often better armed, learning how to detect them is crucial both to the safety of the rangers and wildlife.

Ranger holding baby rhino foot

photo: unknown

FightforRhinos received a plea from a ranger in a smaller APU in southern Kruger to help them learn human tracking. We have found an outside, reputable training program to send them to. But we can’t do it without your help. To support our efforts, please go to Go-Fund-Me or make a donation through Paypal  on the Donate button at fightforrhinos.com
3 white rhinos by penny wilson

In order to keep them safe, we must support THEIR protectors, the rangers. photo: Penny Wilson

 

 

 

 

Categories: Ranger Heroes, Rhino Ramblings | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Training Rangers to Protect Rhinos

We’re starting out the new year with a Go-Fund-Me campaign to protect our rhinos and the courageous rangers who stand between them and the poachers.

rhino ranger

photo: Chris Galliers

We received a plea from a ranger belonging to a smaller anti-poaching unit in southern Kruger National Park. The loss of rhino in their area has left them feeling frustrated and helpless.  Aside from their basic training, they are in urgent need of a tracking course to enable them to better track poachers when they are in the area.

In this ranger’s words “It is important to go to such training as in most training centers or colleges they do teach us tracking but in a short period, and in those weeks there’s lot of things we’ve been taught (i.e animal identification, tree species, grass,soil erosion, patrol techniques, etc) so doing this specified human tracking will enable us to see clearly where and how the poachers came and to follow them if they’re inside the park.”

Please support and share this crucial campaign. ANY and every amount is hugely appreciated.

For more see: Rangers can’t do it alone, they need your help!

Go-Fund-Me: Training Rangers to Protect Rhinos

help rangers illustration by sophia

Categories: Making a Difference, Ranger Heroes, Rhino Ramblings | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Rangers can’t do it alone-they need your help!

“Truly speaking, I didn’t believe it until the third day after. I asked myself why did this happen in OUR section? I didn’t know what to do, but deep down in my heart I was hurting seeing that rhinos lying helpless, (killed) for its horn.

One thing that kept coming in my mind was How did these people manage to get to this place without  anyone seeing them?   Many questions kept coming but with no answers.  As for my heart it was painful, as it is now answering these questions. I’m hurt; and your must remember if a rhino is poached under your supervision there’s a lot of suspense; and as a young field ranger like me, it can make or break your career.

All you have to do is to be mentally fit and tells yourself that tomorrow I’ll do better to save this species.”

ranger near poaching

Ranger at site of a rhino poaching incident in Kruger 01/15. Kate Brooks / Redux Pictures for Al Jazeera America

This ranger, as with many on the battlefields of the poaching war in Africa, is frustrated, and in need of help; help to fight against the scourge of poaching that threatens not only an entire species, but his career and family.

Rangers are trained in areas of wildlife; tracking animals, wildlife identification, patrol tactics and techniques…but with limited funding and time, they are not all skilled at “human” tracking. This is vital to stay a step ahead of poachers.

At Fight for Rhinos, we are looking to provide this essential training to their anti-poaching unit. This APU is located in southern Kruger, a hotspot for rhino poaching. Having lost rhino already, this makes them a target. Once poachers achieve success, they will come back, looking to repeat their success.

Your donations will directly impact this area; keeping not only the rhinos safer, but the rangers as well. Please help and give what you can. Your donations and purchases are urgently needed.

Our goal is to provide the training by February.

Illustration by Sophia Maria

 

 

Categories: Making a Difference, Ranger Heroes, Rhino Ramblings | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Ranger Coulran

Name: Coulran

Age: 28 years old

Location: Mpumalanga, SA

I did my field rangers course at one of the best college in southern African, SOUTHERN AFRICAN WILDLIFE COLLEGE AND AFRICAN FIELD RANGERS TRAINING SERVICES,  I’m proud to have been a product of them thanks to the opportunity they offered me and other rangers, though it was not an easy road.

Coulran in bush

Coulran on duty

What has been your most rewarding and most difficult moment as a ranger?

The most rewarding moments as a anti poach ranger is when I spend more months without poaching within the reserve and believe me I wish I can spend my whole life without poaching activities. That motivates me as it shows that me and my colleagues we doing a marvelous job.

The difficult moments is when I wake up in the mornings and wear my uniforms with the thought that I may not make it back to the camp as I may occur a battle contact with poachers. When I don’t arrest poachers when they trespass our reserve as they are one step ahead of me and my unit members.

How much do you work, what is your schedule like?

The way I work can’t be really specified as it’s not a daily routine but what I can say is it all depends on my ops manager and what schedule he brings that day or night. I work 9 hour mornings or nights. It’s like 2 weeks on nights,  2 weeks on days and 2 weeks bush camp. In total I work 42 days and get 14 days off.

I do patrols and ambushes during work.

Where would you like to travel someday?

I would like to travel to Asia and Botswana. In Asia I would want to see where are they selling this rhinoceros horns,  and in Botswana to learn how they keep the low rate of illegal rhino poaching because they are doing a great job.

What’s your favorite meal?

My favorite meal has to be pap and bull brand beef as it keeps me strong during those hard and long hours during work in the bush; and I won’t forget my grannie’s cooking I adore everything she cooks.

What do your friends/family think of your profession?

Couran on dutyMy family, especially my granny couldn’t understand why I chose anti-poaching while I could’ve been a doctor or some good office work, as I did very well in my matric and my other dream was to be a charted accountant.  But I had a soft spot for this species.But they support me and always call me to check if I’m still okay. As for my friends; those who know me they do support and wish me the best of luck.

I strived so hard to be where I am as it was not an easy journey to be an anti-poaching ranger. I dedicate my life for the animals and I’m proud to be a ranger .LET THE ROAR OF THE AFRICAN LION BE HEARD!

Categories: Ranger Heroes, Rhino Ramblings | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

World Ranger Day – THANK YOU

world ranger day

The depth of our gratitude is endless, as these people put it all on the line, affording the rest of us more time to rack our brains to come up with a solution. We are indebted to them all for their perseverance and very existence, as without them we would never fully possess our sanity, let alone be able to sleep. To know they are there, on guard, watching, listening; it is a comfort like no other.

Thank you for your hearts, your strength. KNOW we stand beside you during the patrols, in the silence of the night, in the heat of the forest, during times of fear, fatigue, and despair. You are each an inspiration, a hero.

Thank you for everything you do. You are a blessing to the animals. May God keep you safe. -Gerri

Thank you to all the wonderful Rangers that perform such a dedicated job to help save the rhinos from poachers! -Jo Wiest

Thank you rangers! -Lisa Chien Hunkler

The entire Fabrily Team would like to extend our gratitude to the brave Rangers who risk their lives daily to protect our planet’s precious wildlife. Thanks to your efforts rhinos, elephants, lions and many more species are being saved from extinction. Please continue this important work and know that you’ve got our appreciation and support!  ~ Fabrily Team, UK

I visited South Africa in August 2014 and it changed me forever.  I was incredibly moved by the amazing creatures who live in the protected areas.  I became overwhelmed by the amount of nature we have lost on this planet.  And it saddened me greatly.  It still does. I don’t know how to thank you adequately for working to protect what’s left.  I know you put your lives on the line every day to protect animals from harm.  Please know that although I’ve never met you, I think of you all often, and I wish you well. I live in the state of Kentucky, in the USA.  From my small town I’m working to raise money for night vision equipment for rangers.  My group, the Try Anything Rhino Project, has already purchased one piece of equipment that has arrived in South Africa in the last week or two.  I’m now working to raise funds to buy more. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for what you do.  You are all heroes.  I appreciate you more than you’ll ever know!! -Marla Knight-Dutille

 Please give our heartfelt thanks to all he Ranger Heroes out there! Wildlife Guardians, protectors of our precious wildlife, the world is forever in your debt. You truly are Guardian Angels for Wildlife -Thank you so much from Rebecca Bush & Family, UK
rangers 1
Thank you from the depths of my heart. The Indian rhino tattoo on my ankle is a reminder of these magnificent creatures who deserve the right to be free from humans. -Arden Zalman
Where do we begin? Because of YOU these lives carry on… THANK YOU for your dedication!!!! -Carla Viljoen
Thank You Rangers for your dedication and love of Animals. -Norma Crichton
We will never meet or talk, but you are in my mind and heart.  You have my admiration, respect, and gratitude.
I do what I can in the ways that I can, but YOU are the everyday living presence that does the work that will save so much in our world.Thank you, thank you.  I send good thoughts for your safety, health, strength, and peace. Catherine;Santa Rosa, California, USA
A huge thank you for all that you do to protect the vulnerable and magnificent creatures that share this world with us. You are true heroes-Sara Wickenden
Thank you Rangers for your brave efforts to protect wildlife.-Jean du Ross
We need companionate like you to protect these beautiful creatures.  May God Bless and protect you and the animals you care for. Thank you for your dedication and service-Dan Seme
You are the true protectors of our future.you might not know this but your efforts and true love you have for our animals are what keeps the planet alive.thank you from the bottom of my heart.you are true heros -Brendon Hoy
ranger with gorilla
Hello all your wildlife rangers, we want to say a big “THANK YOU” to you all for helping animals! You all are our HEROES!!! –Susanna Sikorski and Jens Strohkirch from Germany

TO ALL OF YOU WHO DO THIS HARD WORK- THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!! I read about as much as I can about your efforts, which are saving so many animals lives—at the same time, you have to deal with criminals who don’t care about anything but greed—so I just say a huge THANK YOU FOR ALL YOUR EFFORTS TO HELP KEEP ALLTHE MAGNIFICENT CREATURES ALIVE—I PERSONALLY AM EXTREMELY GRATEFUL FOR ALL YOUR EFFORTS—Louise Smith

Rangers, I have the privilege of witnessing daily on WildEarth’s wildsafarilive.com, the love and care guides & rangers have for your wildlife.  I am blessed that I am able to witness ellies, lions, leopards, etc. thanks to the hard work and dedication you all put into your daily lives.  If it wasn’t for you, WE would have nothing to see and admire.  🙂 Keep up  the great work so WE can continue to be in awe.  WE are rooting for you, and praying for your safety and success.  Words cannot express enough, but I can say THANK YOU!Blessings, Vicky Sanders, New Mexico USA

To all the Rangers in the World, You’re true guardians of the Earth and the vital eco-systems we need to desperately protect. I’m heart broken for the tragedy in your work but we must all fight for your triumphs. -Thank you, Paula

KWS rangers line up

 

It is not money, goodwill or millions of people who care so much about wildlife, that actually saves it. That all helps, tremendously; but it is the rangers who actually save our animals. I have never had so much respect for anyone. Thank you! -Jenna Grant

Thank you for all that you do to protect our most precious and endangered wildlife. Thank you for doing your best to keep them safe and sound. You are the extraordinary and elite. I wish you many blessings and thanks. -Love Always, Susan
Thank you so much for all your hard work and dedication to help saving these animals. We all owe you so much.  -Anita
My heart breaks so much each time I read a horrendous poaching story. But it heals each time I hear of the wonderful work you do. Humanity must respect all animals, who give so much to us. Respect their habitat, their spirit and their being. We are all in this together. Thank you a million times over! -Janis Byrne
Thanks for your effort, love and hearts in action towards Rhino protection. Hope for the best outcome in their and your lives in harmony and soon! Love to you all. Many thanks all the way from Argentina. 🙂 -Marita  ❤ 😉
I’d like to thank you for all that you do. You are in my heart, and I am certain in the hearts of every adult and child who has ever reflected on the importance of the preservation of the Earth that we all share and belong to. The feeling of struggle is progressively relieved with every animal that is protected. This helps us all, even economically. We love you! -Santos of California
Zambia female officer
You are protectors of those animals who need you. You are their voice. Without you, they would be gone. I can’t thank you enough for the service you do. Bless you. Please have hope and love in your hearts. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! -Kari Tucker
You’re great at what you’re doing! Keep doing it because we need these animals! They’re important to a lot of people and what you guys are doing is an amazing thing! -Hannah
To my heroes – Thank you for all that you do every day to stop poachers and care for the animals that survive this horrific crime.  What you do for these majestic animals is so amazing.  I can only hope to someday see these animals with my own eyes in their own habitat and it will be because of your efforts.  And if I don’t ever get to see them, knowing that they are still alive because of your efforts is all I really need.  Thank you for saving these beautiful animals. Best-Abbie

Thank you for all you do to protect these beautiful creatures. Full of admiration for your bravery and dedication x Best wishes-Amy G

Beyond thanking you, I am unsure what else to say. You are protecting the inalienable rights, life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness, of the wildlife. They lack a voice our society to request the protections which we enjoy and take for granted. Please continue your fine work and let the rest of us know how to better assist you.
Thank you. Sincerely, Ken
ranger with rhino near hand
I want you to know that if I was able I would be there to help. You are an inspiration in this cruel world. What you are doing is truly remarkable and I hope that you continue to save and protect these magnificent creatures. We are losing our beautiful animals on this planet at such a rapid rate it is horrific. Unfortunately mankind carries on. Thank you for all that you do. Keep up the fight. Thank you. –Sandra Mason, Mono, Ontario

On World Ranger Day  my  message of thanks goes to all those men and women who are prepared to lay their lives for the protection of their country’s wildlife heritage. This is often done enduring hardships and difficult conditions , for disproportionately low salaries. Their dedication is often overshadowed by other figures (‘the experts’) who provide technical and scientific knowledge for Nature conservation. Governments , in any country, should make it a priority to provide better conditions for these men and women, the game rangers: not only for the purpose of incentivizing an increasingly important profession, but also to express a nation’s gratitude for their sacrifice. Rangers are aware of the high risks they face , especially where poaching is conducted with extreme determination and violence,  and their choice of enforcing the law makes their work even more commendable. Thank you, for you are today’s heroes for tomorrow’s enjoyment of Nature by our children! –Silvana Olivo, France

Thank you wonderful folks, I appreciate all that you are doing! Bless you, may your lord be with you always! Thank you again! –Carol D

Thank you for your courage and commitment to protect the most endangered animals on the planet. It takes a special kind of person to be a wildlife ranger! –Yasmine Saad

Thank you so much for all that you do to protect our wildlife. Our national and state parks, and the plants and animals within them, are a treasure that you work so hard to preserve and protect—that does not go unnoticed or unappreciated! Your service means the world :)-Sophia D

Thanks so much for all you do to protect our planet! This World Ranger Day, and every day, let us never forget those who have given their lives to protect our wildlife and environment from poachers, polluters, and others intent on causing harm. Your bravery and sacrifices will not be forgotten! –Jeremy Taylor, Ravena, NY USA

So many of you sent support and appreciation for our rangers. We will be sending these messages to our friends at Ol Pejeta Conservancy, the Black Mambas APU, Game Reserves United (GRU) & RPU Program in Indonesia.

To further support our efforts with them, please purchase our limited edition summer tee: FIGHT FOR THE RHINOS YOU LOVE tees

 

Categories: Making a Difference, Ranger Heroes, Rhino Ramblings | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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