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Media Release: Africas rangers unite to discuss common issues

 A sense of camaraderie prevailed as over 105 rangers from 14 different African countries came together at the Southern African Wildlife College recently for the first ever African Ranger Congress. This first of its kind event was endorsed by the International Ranger Federation (IRF), supported by the Thin Green Line Foundation and organised and facilitated by the Game Rangers' Association of Africa (GRAA).

Rangers from Angola, Benin, Côte d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Kenya, Malawi, Madagascar, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe were in attendance to share their stories of success and the challenges they face at ground level whilst protecting Africa's wildlife and wild places. The event, which took place over three days, confirmed to many that they are not alone whilst they face increasingly difficult conservation environment across the continent.

Common issues were identified by participants and solutions were discussed so that pro-active steps may be taken to ensure that rangers are sufficiently supported and have the required capability to fulfil their conservation mandate. Rangers were also exposed to various initiatives taking place to enhance ranger capability in the field of biological conservation, law enforcement and community engagement.

Resolutions from the congress containing the key themes that need to be addressed to ensure an effective African ranger corps were drafted with inputs from all delegates. These were documented into the African Ranger Congress Declaration of Intent which will be tabled at the IRF World Ranger Congress in Nepal in 2019 where these issues will receive global attention.

"The need for such a gathering was set in motion by the African contingent at the last World Ranger Congress in Colorado (2016). This Congress has importantly created a stronger platform for Africa's rangers to work together to strengthen ranger effectiveness and capability across borders and in countries of operation," said Chris Galliers, the International Ranger Federation African Representative.

Experienced ranger Pepin Matlands from Gabon who represented Central Africa on the GRAA Africa Committee, commented, "We are now a family. Vive le rangers!".

Andrew Campbell, GRAA CEO said, "Events such as this are hugely valuable in establishing a continental esprit de corps amongst rangers. We need rangers to unite and for their voice to be heard as they are the men and women who stand at the forefront of all conservation efforts. Thank you to the participating ranger associations, supporters, employers and rangers who made this congress possible. We have no doubt this is the first of many African Ranger Congresses!"

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Some of the different uniforms on display at the African Ranger Congress © Peter Chadwick/GRAA

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Networking opportunities abounded which promote cross border collaboration amongst ranger peers © Peter Chadwick/GRAA

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Rangers from different countries, contexts and eras shared their challenges during group discussions © Peter Chadwick/GRAA

 

 

 

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