Team Lioness - KenyaWe're transforming what it means to be a woman ranger
It takes an individual of immense character to be an IFAW Wildlife Ranger. These brave men and women protect wildlife from the front lines while simultaneously bridging gender gaps, establishing generationally sustainable revenue streams and creating systems to save critical populations. This upcoming World Ranger Day, we celebrate and support the incredible strength of rangers across the globe who work every day to protect animals and the wild places they call home. As we celebrate this special day on July 31st, we ask you to show support by sharing how you're #RangerStrongFor wildlife and the individuals who put everything on the line to protect animals.
Team Lioness is one of Kenya’s first all-women wildlife ranger units. As Community Wildlife Rangers (CWR), the women help protect nearly 150,000 acres of traditional Masaai community lands that encompass Amboseli National Park in Kenya. Poaching is the cause of three out of every five African elephant deaths. The obstacles they’re up against are complex and demand immediate action. Wildlife rangers possess the mental fortitude to dismantle criminal networks using sophisticated technologies and counterterrorism tactics to harness, analyze and distribute information about poaching hotspots.
COVID-19 brought new challenges to IFAW's Wildlife Rangers. As essential workers, the rangers were quarantined and separated from their families during these challenging times. The drop in tourism has led to limited resources, causing many areas to see an increase in poaching and illegal activity. Our rangers continue to be the first line of defense in the field, playing a critical role in the protection of Africa's most iconic wildlife.
Wildlife rangers are selected based on their integrity, mental strength and physical strength. The job requires great intelligence to predict and prevent a poacher's next strike, and determination to meet all physical demands. At a moment’s notice, a call could come in about a poaching cell encroaching into a protected park. Ranger teams deploy immediately, often times remaining away from their camp for days while tracking and dismantling poaching rings.
When IFAW realized ordinary approaches to stopping elephant poachers weren’t working, we tried something new. We connected people who had never worked together before. Now, IFAW Wildlife Rangers work in concert with military intelligence officers, local residents and law enforcement, forming a rapid response network: tenBoma. The network is named after an East African saying that a community becomes safer when ten houses come together to look out for each other. Since its inception, we have seen an increase of 1,700 more elephants in Kenya’s Tsavo Conservation Area.
IFAW Wildlife Rangers are frontline heroes dedicated to saving iconic species. This World Ranger Day, join IFAW as we celebrate their strength. Follow the #RangerStrongFor hashtag across social for ways you can participate.