World Ranger Day: celebrating the unsung conservation heroes

Today, Fauna & Flora International (FFI) is joining in with organisations around the world to celebrate World Ranger Day – a day in which we send out a huge thank you to the amazing people who work tirelessly to protect wildlife, and commemorate those killed or injured on the frontline of conservation.

FFI and our partners work with rangers and patrol teams around the world – dedicated individuals who put their lives on the line to ensure the continued survival of species at risk.

Rhinos in Kenya, tigers in Sumatra, turtles in Nicaragua, jaguars in Belize and many others have benefited enormously from the protection and stewardship that these committed people provide, every single day.

Gorilla guardians

The International Gorilla Conservation Programme (IGCP) is a coalition between FFI and WWF that works to conserve mountain gorillas and their habitat across Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The value of rangers working in the five national parks where these gorillas are found can hardly be overstated – by removing snares, combating illegal activities that damage habitat, monitoring the gorillas and much more besides, rangers are making sure that these magnificent primates are kept safe.

But this work does not come without sacrifice. In addition to the long hours and enormous physical effort they put in, rangers today also face mortal peril.

In January of this year, we reported the death of Mbera Bagabo, a ranger in Virunga National Park (home to mountain gorillas) who was shot dead after being ambushed by rebels. Sadly, he is not the only one. In the last 15 years, 140 rangers have been killed in the line of duty in Virunga National Park alone.

It is perhaps some comfort, however, to know that their sacrifices have not been in vain.

Thanks to the hard work of rangers, alongside IGCP’s efforts to address the wider threats to mountain gorillas and boost community support for their conservation, mountain gorilla numbers are gradually beginning to increase.

There are many elements that make IGCP and mountain gorilla conservation such a success story (some of which can be seen in this film), but today we salute the rangers – not just in Africa but all around the world.

We hope you’ll join us.