The African ranger’s job is often undertaken without recognition. They have to work in remote wilderness areas under arduous conditions usually where communication is a serious challenge and resource support is extremely scarce. These rangers make enormous sacrifices and regularly place their lives at risk in ensuring the integrity and conservation of Africa's protected areas.
The general public does not always understand the extent and complexity of the work that rangers do and the impact that they make for conservation. With the epidemic of rhino, elephant and other poaching that is gripping Africa, it is more crucial than ever before, to expose the public to the incredible work that these individuals do in ensuring that our natural heritage is preserved for future generations.
The Game Rangers Association of Africa (GRAA) has partnered with conservation photographer Peter Chadwick to initiate a campaign that will raise awareness about the fact that rangers are the heroes of the conservation effort. As an ex-ranger, having spent numerous years in the field, Peter Chadwick is in the unique position as a conservation photojournalist to understand the work and complexities that rangers face. This will ensure that his images capture the real story of the rangers.Through the use of his iconic imagery, coupled with thought provoking text, this campaign will;
- Showcase the critical role that rangers play in African conservation.
- Provide the public with a greater understanding of the work that rangers do whilst ensuring the integrity of Africa’s protected areas.
- Raise awareness about the extreme working conditions faced by rangers on a daily basis.
- Allow the public to understand and partake in a “Call to Action” that supports rangers and the work that they do.
- Supporting rangers is supporting conservation.
- Supporting rangers is supporting the species and habitats that they protect.
- Rangers form the ‘thin green line’ protecting our natural heritage, they are our last line of defence.
- A rangers work is multifaceted and is much broader than just anti-poaching efforts.
- Without rangers conservation efforts in Africa are doomed.
- Solutions are available – change the dialogue from adversity to collaboration and support and solutions can emerge
- Protecting nature is up to everyone not just rangers
12 images from an initial pilot field trip are to be put together into a 2016 GRAA Ranger Calendar. This calendar will be distributed by Natural Causes and Rangers for Rhino's, who have partnered with the GRAA on producing a ranger calendar in 2015. This will then become a foundational platform from which to raise much needed further support for the ranger corps.
Please feel free to support or donate to projects that support Africa's Rangers.
1 of 11: The essence of a ranger is comradeship, discipline and good training.
2 of 11: Rangers from Botswana participate in the annual Global March for the Elephants and Rhino in Kasane, Botswana
3 of 11: A ranger, in protective clothing, uses a drip torch to start a fire in a controlled burn.
4 of 11: Fynbos and alien plants ignite in a huge fireball, showing the dangers that rangers have to face in fighting and controlling veld fires.
5 of 11: The rise in poaching for rhino horn and elephant ivory has meant that rangers now often have to face heavily armed gangs
6 of 11: Even poachers that hunt for meat are well armed with knives and spears that makes confrontation and capture difficult. (Face of the poacher blacked out to hide identity)
7 of 11: A former abalone poacher shows off his tattoo
8 of 11: It is not only our terrestrial biodiversity that is at risk from poaching. Marine poaching of abalone has decimated populations of this shellfish in a war that has very close links to organized crime, drug trafficking and social abuse.
9 of 11: Rangers from Ezemvelo KwaZulu Natal Wildlife undertake a boat patrol on Kosi Lake in search of fish poachers that lay gill nets across the Lake.
10 of 11: The varied duties of rangers include the monitoring and recording of key species such as this Loggerhead Turtle on the shores of northern Zululand.
11 of 11: The commitment shown by rangers on the ground will ensure that the integrity of our protected areas are maintained in to the future and our uniquely African heritage of wildlife will be conserved for future generations.