Minister Edna Molewa celebrates Game Rangers on World Ranger Day 2017

31 July 2017


As South Africa celebrates World Ranger Day today, the Minister of Environmental Affairs, Dr Edna Molewa, has paid tribute to game rangers who dedicate their lives to the protection of South Africa’s rich biodiversity.

“Rangers in certain parts of South Africa face daily hardships in their efforts to protect many of our species, such as the elephant, rhino, cycad and abalone, from unscrupulous poachers.  Our country’s natural beauty derived from our enormous biodiversity is a key income generator and thus an important contributor to our economy through job creation and tourism. It is through the actions of these brave men and women, who risk their lives daily to protect our natural world and our many species,” said Minister Molewa.

World Ranger Day is supported by the International Rangers Federation, and is marked annually on the 31 July to acknowledge game rangers as dedicated guardians of the world’s natural heritage.

The Minister, in updating the successes linked to the implementation of the Integrated Strategic Management of Rhinoceros in South Africa earlier this month, highlighted the importance of the Department of Environmental Affairs’ community rhino ambassador’s programme saying emphasis is being placed on enhancing the community ranger model with a national career and roll-out plan.

In line with the decisions of the Rhino Conservation Lab, the Anti-Poaching Unit (APU) ranger training curriculum is being finalised to improve the ability of rangers to deal with any situation that befalls them.

“I would like to salute our ranger corps for the work they do. They are our men and women on the frontline, keeping our precious natural resources safe. They put their lives on the line every day to keep our many species safe and on behalf of all South Africans I want to thank each and every one of you,” said the Minister.

Because South Africa is battling a threat against its wildlife on so many fronts, and spread across the expanses of the country, this has necessitated that almost the entire Ranger Corps has been converted to anti-poaching units. They are well trained and supported by canine units, small air wings, and relevant technology.

Tactical information management ensures the intelligent deployment of these units. This approach is also being followed by private rhino owners and close cooperation with them has become the norm.

The Minister says the Rhino Guardian project launched in the Kruger National Park in January 2017 as part of efforts to increase the black rhino population is being undertaken with the support of the Peace Parks Foundation and the World Wildlife Fund – South Africa.

“Our approach includes a priority response by task teams when incursions occur that could threaten black rhinos.  We have dedicated biological management and science support that use innovative techniques to inform efficient protection by our field rangers,” said Dr Molewa.

The Minister also paid tribute to the SANParks Honorary Rangers, thanking the volunteers for offering their free time to contribute to conservation and the elimination of wildlife crimes.

“The work done by these volunteers in their free time is an example that we can all follow.  As we remember those rangers across the world that have lost their lives protecting our natural heritage, let us follow their example by committing ourselves to working together  protect our wonderful world and thus ensure the survival of species of plants and wildlife for generations to come,” said the Minister.

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Albi Modise
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