Rangers work against all odds protecting the things we love. This comes at a significant price as many rangers are killed in the line of duty whilst they work for nature. A recent survey of rangers conducted by the WWF showed that almost 80% of the 1742 respondents had faced a life-threatening encounter during their work. Rangers deserve more and as such the theme for World Ranger Day 2021 is focused on the need for improved ranger safety and wellbeing.

The International Ranger Federation (IRF) reports that at least 120 rangers have died worldwide in the last twelve months in the line of duty. Added to these deaths, the IRF notes that, shockingly, almost 500 rangers have succumbed to COVID-19 worldwide.

Africa has experienced its worst year in memory regarding ranger deaths. The Game Rangers Association of Africa (GRAA) has recorded 86 ranger deaths on the continent, of which 82 were in the line of duty. This means that at least 472 African rangers have been killed in action in the last decade. Over 51% of these rangers have been murdered by militia groups, terrorists and bandits in co-ordinated attacks or by poachers whilst protecting our wildlife and wild places. Sadly, we anticipate as the COVID-19 pandemic spreads across our continent that the number of rangers who have died from COVID-19 will rise dramatically. It remains of utmost importance for rangers to take basic precautions like wearing a mask, maintaining social distance and washing their hands regularly. Most importantly rangers need to get vaccinated.

Rangers are frontline workers and deserve equitable access to COVID-19 vaccinations. They conserve and protect the very health of our planet and its communities of wildlife and people. They deserve better and we call on both government, private and the NGO sector to ensure ranger health is prioritised as it should be alongside other frontline workers.

‘On World Ranger Day we acknowledge our fallen ranger colleagues across the world. We pay tribute to them and their family members who have made tremendous sacrifices that do not go unnoticed. Perhaps the greatest tribute we can pay to our colleagues involves more than just acknowledgement. We need commitments and ultimately actions to ensure improved ranger safety and wellbeing in the workplace to help prevent many of these deaths in the future,’ said Andrew Campbell, Chief Executive Officer of the GRAA.

With the theme of this year’s World Ranger Day being ranger safety and wellbeing, the GRAA has been focusing on our RangerCare initiative in the hopes of making a tangible difference to rangers on the ground by improving their wellbeing.

Currently, through a joint initiative with SATIB Insurance Brokers called RangerProtect, we support over 1500 rangers with accidental death, disability and medical evacuation cover. This is the largest policy of its kind in Africa. Costing just $45 per ranger per year, this provides financial support to the families of rangers killed in action and ensures rangers receive in-field support if they are injured to prevent death or serious injury.

The GRAA is also coordinating efforts with leading emergency and wilderness medicine specialists to improve the standards of ranger first aid training. In August, together with these partners we will be releasing the first edition of the Guidelines and Scope of Practice for African Rangers First Aid (ARFA). The intention is to assist governments, conservation groups, or other NGOs to develop appropriate curricula and trainings to reduce and minimize ranger deaths and disabilities. These guidelines will be important in improving the access rangers have to quality remote area first aid training that is both relevant and appropriate to their working conditions.

It is exciting to announce that in the interests of improving ranger safety, Meddev and Safeguard Medical will be embarking on a partnership with GRAA to support the roll out of quality first aid equipment for rangers. This will build on the existing partnership we have with specialist ranger first aid training provider Safe Ranger Africa who have trained hundreds of rangers in life saving skills. Initially 20 rangers will benefit from the next course where they will be issued with top quality individual first aid kits. In the coming months this partnership will develop a long term and sustainable roll out plan to support rangers with improved access to quality equipment.

“It is exciting to be able to share some good news on World Ranger Day. The RangerCare initiative is going from strength to strength and helps keep rangers safe in the field. Mental wellbeing is also important and initiatives to give rangers the recognition they deserve like the Rhino Conservation Awards are very important in boosting morale. This week we announced the finalists of this year’s awards and their incredible contributions to conservation are inspiring to us all. We are also extremely proud to be an organising partner of the Wildlife Ranger Challenge once again which will support over 5000 rangers as they grapple with the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.” added Campbell.

Those wanting to contribute to the Game Rangers’ Association of Africa’s efforts to improve ranger safety and wellbeing can do so via the donation tab on our website. Click here.

To all our rangers colleagues across the globe, today is your day.

Happy World Ranger Day.



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to support Africa’s rangers

Please donate so we can keep supporting
the guardians of what we all love







Please donate so we can continue to support Africa’s rangers






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