The men and women who defend the
countryˇ¦s wildlife, sometimes paying with their very lives, were honoured as
South Africa observed World Ranger Day.
The Deputy Minister
of Environmental Affairs, Barbara Thomson, on Tuesday, 31 July 2018, led
country celebrations at Addo Elephant National Park in the Eastern Cape.
Deputy Minister Thomson delivered the commemorative message, highlighting
the dedication and commitment of South Africaˇ¦s rangers as well as the
importance of World Ranger Day, which is observed on 31 July each year
It is a day to commemorate the many rangers killed or injured in the line of
duty. It is also a day to celebrate the work they do to protect the world's
natural and cultural treasures.
This year, SANParks showcased the work done by marine rangers in the
national parks at the Darlington Dam section of Addo Elephant National Park.
The display showed how marine and terrestrial rangers worked together to
protect natural heritage.
South Africa is battling threats to its wildlife on many fronts and
elephants and rhinos are not the only animals at risk of being poached.
Species such as abalone are illegally harvested and sea turtles are snared,
while illegal fishing and dumping of waste into the oceans is rife.
Sharks are caught for their fins, while whales and other ocean species are
dying because of overfishing and the amount of plastic and other waste
dumped into the oceans.
ˇ§As a result, much of the ranger corps' duties are being focused on
anti-poaching operations. SANParks rangers undergo extensive training,
supported by canine units, small air wing aircraft, as well as sophisticated
technology as part of its anti-poaching operations.
ˇ§Our rangers are facing daily hardships in their efforts to protect many of
our species, such as the elephant, rhino, cycad, pangolin and abalone from
ˇ§Our countryˇ¦s natural heritage, derived from our enormous biodiversity, is
a key income generator for tourism and thus an important contributor to our
economy through job creation and tourism,ˇ¨ Deputy Minister Thomson said.
She thanked SANParks for its significant role in providing the rangers with
the necessary support in terms of specialised training and equipment to
enable them to respond effectively to incidents.
Deputy Minister Thomson said if it were not for these excellent individuals
who risk their lives to protect the species, many species would face
She expressed sadness and condemned the killing of rangers, particularly in
the Kruger National Park, which is mostly the target of poaching activities.
ˇ§I would like to pay a special tribute to our departed rangers for
dedicating their lives while protecting our wildlife,ˇ¨ she said.
As part of World Ranger Day activities, 27 elephants were moved from the
main Addo game viewing area to roam in the Darlington section of the park.
By expanding the range of the elephants, the pressure on the environment and
on the herds roaming in the Addo region will be alleviated.
ˇV Source: SAnews.gov.za