Commemorating World Ranger Day
In a tribute to mark World Rangers Day today, IFAW said men and women on the frontline of saving wildlife deserved more support than ever to fight the battle against poaching and illicit trade.
“In the past 12 months, 58 rangers have given their lives to save wildlife – more than half of them murdered by poachers, illegal loggers and armed militias,” said Kelvin Alie, Director of IFAW’s Wildlife Crime and Consumer Awareness (International Fund for Animal Welfare – www.ifaw.org). These figures are supplied by the International Rangers Federation.
“While even one death in the line of duty is one too many, these figures demonstrate that our rangers are literally at war to save wildlife and other natural and cultural resources,” he said.
World Rangers Day today, July 31st, commemorates rangers killed or injured in the line of duty and celebrates the work they do to protect the world’s natural and cultural resources.
Earlier this year, Operation Worthy, an intervention by INTERPOL, arrested more than 200 people, seized almost two tonnes of contraband ivory, 20 kg of rhino horn and military grade automatic weapons in an operation that spanned 14 African countries.
IFAW teamed up with INTERPOL to target criminal organisations behind the illegal trafficking of ivory. Also seized were lion, leopard and cheetah pelts, crocodile and python skins, live tropical birds, turtles, and other protected species destined to be illegally trafficked around the world.
More than 320 officers from a range of agencies including police, customs, environmental protection agencies, veterinary services, airport security, ministries of tourism and national prosecuting authorities took part in Operation Worthy which saw interventions carried out at markets, ports, shops, border crossings and during roadside checks.
“IFAW believes that one elephant killed for its ivory is one too many. We will not stand by while elephants are needlessly slaughtered,” said Alie. “Some range states are doing their part in hosting and protecting their elephants – the rest of us must act to support them in these efforts. That means developed countries joining IFAW in training wildlife officers, researching the illegal trade and ensuring the safety of our common natural heritage.”
Few animals are as threatened by wildlife trafficking as elephants. Earlier this year IFAW raised the alarm as hundreds of elephants were slaughtered in Cameroon. A recent report from IFAW makes it clear that Chinese demand, and demand in other Asian countries, is largely to blame.
IFAW trains law enforcement officers in wildlife trafficking prevention in several countries throughout Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Oceania, and the Caribbean. To date, more than 1,300 governmental representatives at the forefront of this struggle have been trained since 2006. Just this month IFAW has conducted trainings in Bhutan, Congo Brazzaville, Dubai, Vanuatu and Kazahkstan.
About the International Fund for Animal Welfare:
Founded in 1969, IFAW saves animals in crisis around the world. With projects in more than 40 countries, IFAW rescues individual animals, works to prevent cruelty to animals, and advocates for the protection of wildlife and habitats. For more information, visit www.ifaw.org. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.