Celebrating Rangers on World Ranger Day

Francois d'Elbee/Conservation Lower Zambezi

By Dr. Peter Lindsey, Director of the Lion Recovery Fund

This World Ranger Day, we honor the men and women serving as rangers in Africa’s vast network of conservation areas. They play a critical role in protecting the continent’s biodiversity. Often underpaid and underappreciated, Africa’s rangers have to work in extremely difficult and dangerous conditions, frequently facing attack by armed poachers. Rangers play a vital role in lion conservation by helping to protect lions, their prey, and the habitats on which lions depend.

A Chadian ranger stands guard over an enormous herd of mixed antelopes in Zakouma National Park.

A high proportion of the funding that is issued by the LRF ends up supporting the work of rangers in the field, in one way or another. For example, 54% of LRF funding invested so far has gone into supporting the management of underfunded protected areas. In most cases, such funding is used in part to help pay, train, and equip rangers to make their work more effective and safe. The LRF contributes to the salaries of at least 1,002 rangers and has supported the equipping and supply of rations to a similar number. This support has been critically important during the COVID-19 pandemic. Funding for conservation has declined during the pandemic, while pressures on nature have increased. The loss of revenues from tourism has created the grave risk that rangers might be laid off, or that there will be insufficient funds for ranger operations and deployments, which would leave Africa’s wildlife terribly exposed.

Tanzania Wildlife Authority (TAWA) rangers protect the Selous Game Reserve, a truly massive protected area.

The LRF is hard at work distributing funds to key landscapes to ensure that essential conservation services continue and that rangers remain in the field. To that end, the LRF has invested nearly $11.6 million since 2020 to help rangers protect threatened wildlife.

Rangers on patrol in Kenya.

Learn more about rangers here.