What is a Game Ranger
"We have lived in the best time and seen the wonders of wildlife...and belong to a brotherhood the members of which have memories that cannot be matched..." Sir Alfred Pease.
In Africa, the Game Ranger goes by many different titles - Game Ranger, Game Warden, Conservation Officer, and many more, yet all are essentially the wildlife managers and the field force in Africa, working at the "coal face" of conservation. In Africa the prime responsibility of the Game Ranger is to ensure the territorial integrity and safety of the protected area under his/her management.
Their tasks are multi-faceted and include; ensuring the day to day health and well-being of the game, research and monitoring, game capture and introductions, population management, burning programs, infrastructure and equipment maintenance, public relations, environmental education, and, crucially, local community relations, liaison and involvement. Added to these are the normal day to day financial controls, human resource planning and administration, which must also be carried out.
Theirs is often a difficult, dangerous and thankless task for which they receive very little remuneration and recognition and seemingly minuscule support both morally and financially. For their dedication, many have in the past, and no doubt will in future, pay with their lives.
Game Ranging is a field that encompasses many aspects of conservation work and includes, but is not restricted to the following:
Territorial integrity and law enforcement:
Actively combat potential or actual threats to the area of management.
Natural studies and scientific support:
Study, monitor, record and report on natural occurrences and phenomenon, and field collection of data and samples.
Management planning and implementation:
Planning and carrying out of actions - inclusive of at least the following; erosion and alien plant control, fire management and game population control.
Sustainable resource utilisation:
Promote the value of , and prevent the degradation/destruction of natural resources.
Contribute towards a public general awareness of conservation.
Contribute towards acceptance by, and cooperation of, neighbouring communities in conservation management.
This is what it truly means to be a Game Ranger.