On World Ranger Day, honor those risking their lives to protect wildlife

Photo: left to right - James Isiche, IFAW East Africa Director, Julius Kipng'etich, former Director of Kenya Wildlife Service and Azzedine Downes, IFAW President and CEO.Today, July 31st 2013, the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) joins wildlife park rangers around the world to celebrate World Ranger Day, sponsored by the International Ranger Federation, to commemorate rangers killed or injured in the line of duty, and to celebrate the work rangers do to protect wildlife.

Every day park rangers risk their lives to protect wildlife and habitats from poaching and other threats. They are generally under-equipped, underpaid, and because they usually work in remote areas out of the media spotlight, they are often under-appreciated.

Increasingly, rangers are out gunned and out maneuvered, as we detail in our ground-breaking report: Criminal Nature: The Global Security Implications of the Illegal Wildlife Trade.

SEE ALSO: In Africa, historic agreement for elephants in the creation of the Kitenden Corridor

Rebel and militia groups, criminal syndicates, and terrorist organizations are using the lucrative black market for animal parts to finance their operations. The new generation of poachers often uses military equipment like AK-47 machine guns, rocket launchers and helicopters, which enable them to slaughter animals at will and their activity puts wildlife officials in mortal danger, with at least 1,000 park rangers killed in 35 countries over the last decade.

In our fight to protect wildlife, rangers are our most precious allies. For many years, IFAW has supported anti-poaching rangers to protect elephants in Africa and tigers and saiga antelopes in Russia with training, vehicles, uniforms, night vision goggles, mobile radios, camping gear, GPS units and other equipment.

IFAW is proud to continue its support of park rangers through the IRF and its rangers through its charity partner The Thin Green Line Foundation. IFAW will donate $20,000 for essential anti-poaching equipment and widow/family support.

In addition to the financial support IFAW has given to the International Ranger Federation, our staff and supporters extend our appreciation and best wishes to every ranger on the job.

Join us in acknowledging the brave and dedicated park rangers who protect the world’s wildlife by pledging not to buy wildlife souvenirs.

--KA

To read more about our efforts to stop wildlife crime, visit our campaign page.

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Azzedine Downes,Executive Vice President for International Operations, VP of P
President and Chief Executive Officer
Céline Sissler-Bienvenu, Director, France and Francophone Africa
Director, France and Francophone Africa
Dr. Elsayed Ahmed Mohamed, Regional Director, Middle East and North Africa
Regional Director, Middle East and North Africa
Dr. Maria (Masha) N. Vorontsova, Regional Director, Russia & CIS
Regional Director, Russia & CIS
Grace Ge Gabriel, Regional Director, Asia
Regional Director, Asia
Isabel McCrea, Regional Director, Oceania
Regional Director, Oceania
Jeffrey Flocken, Regional Director, North America
Regional Director, North America
Kelvin Alie, Programme Director, Wildlife Trade
Programme Director, Wildlife Trade
Peter Pueschel, Director, International Environmental Agreements
Director, International Environmental Agreements
Campaigner, Germany
Campaigner, Germany
Tania McCrea-Steele, Campaigns and Enforcement Manager, IFAW UK
Campaigns and Enforcement Manager, IFAW UK
Vivek Menon, Director of IFAW partner, Wildlife Trust of India
Regional Director, South Asia