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MEDIA STATEMENT: A SOLUTIONS BASED APPROACH TO SUPPORTING AFRICAS RANGERS ON WORLD RANGER DAY

Rangers across the world are subject to an increasing risk of confronting life threatening encounters. They operate in extreme environments, and in their efforts to protect our natural heritage, face the risks associated with dangerous wild animals, sickness, community backlash, and the increasing threat of armed poachers and militia groups. At least 55 rangers from Africa have been killed in the last 12 months alone. Sadly, this total rises to over 105 dead rangers across the globe according to the International Ranger Federation during the same period.

On World Ranger Day, the 31st July 2017 we thank our rangers who continue to serve conservation with such vigour, bravery, resilience and dedication and pay tribute to our fallen comrades. We will remember them.
Working in the African bush is not for the faint-hearted. Protected areas in Africa with species such as rhino and elephant can be hostile environments where armed contacts with poachers are becoming an all too frequent occurrence. Rangers work uninterrupted for long periods under these harsh conditions with little reward or recognition.Biodiversity and thriving ecosystems provide both tangible and intangible benefits to society and rangers play a crucial role in ensuring healthy ecosystems. It is therefore of great importance that rangers receive all the support necessary to perform their duties.


In 2016 a World Wild Fund for Nature (WWF) study , focusing on rangers employed by governments across the world, reported that rangers are not getting this necessary support. In Africa, 40% of those surveyed were not covered by health insurance, 50% had no life insurance and 60% had no long-term disability insurance. As a continent, it was found that Africa's rangers were the worst off.


The difficult and often dangerous working conditions of rangers impacts on their morale. The life-threatening risks faced by rangers are among the range of work stressors that negatively impact on their well-being. Society cannot afford to lose rangers from protected areas. It is therefore essential to ensure rangers receive the necessary support and protection to prevent job dissatisfaction and a negative impact on morale.


The Game Rangers' Association of Africa (GRAA) endeavours to make the rangers of Africa safer and provide them with the necessary protection they need to competently and confidently perform their duties in the field. The GRAA has recently launched the Safe Ranger Project alongside Medwise Safety Services which trains rangers in the necessary practical skills needed to perform remote area first aid. This project recognises that if a ranger is wounded in the line of duty, it is often the minutes immediately after the incident that are most important. Knowing how to stabilise a trauma emergency can save a person's life.


The GRAA also recognises that for rangers to confidently perform their duties in the field, they need adequate insurance protection, knowing that if they are wounded or killed in the line of duty that they or their families will receive adequate support. There is a concern that under current circumstances, we cannot afford rangers to have this important issue neglected. It could reduce their focus and impact on decision-making which can put themselves, their team and wildlife at risk.


With this in mind, the GRAA as part of its Ranger Wellbeing Programme, has partnered with SATIB Insurance Brokers to create a unique product for rangers across Africa, offering insurance cover 24/7, even when rangers are off duty. The product can serve as a primary or additional source of death and disability cover to rangers. Sharing similar views for the conservation of Africa's wildlife, the GRAA was confident to partner with SATIB, who has been an industry leader for the past 25 years.


We cannot guarantee the work of rangers will become less dangerous, but with this new GRAA SATIB Ranger Insurance product we hope to add to rangers' confidence and morale, providing them with the necessary protection to ensure they and their families are looked after, should something happen to them whilst performing their noble work.


Our initial target is to ensure that 1000 rangers are covered by this product in the coming months which is immediately available to provide cover for rangers from Angola, Botswana, Kenya, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Further territories are currently being explored.
For as little as US$30* / annum you can ensure cover of approximately $ 20 000 to ranger's families should they be killed in the line of duty during an anti-poaching activity. We call on employers, non-government organisations and individuals to support rangers by sponsoring their premiums.


Please contact the GRAA on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or +27 (0) 721235384 to pledge your support.

*Terms and conditions apply. Prices and benefits subject to change.

 

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