Enforcement rangers are the frontline defence for the world’s threatened wildlife and protected areas. They often work in extreme conditions with inadequate equipment and insufficient training. Furthermore, they work in dangerous situations where well-funded and heavily-armed criminals are hunting the biodiversity they protect. The protected area enforcement rangers carry out their jobs at great personal risk. In the first half of 2013 alone, at least 85 enforcement rangers have lost their lives worldwide.
On July 30, 2013, Freeland, an NGO based in Bangkok combating wildlife trafficking, and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) co-hosted a press conference to bring attention to the increasingly difficult situation faced by enforcement rangers. Members from Thailand’s Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP) also joined the event. The event saw all stakeholders present agree that enforcement rangers needed comprehensive and continual training, better equipment, better wages and working conditions and compensation for rangers injured or fatally wounded.
On July 31, 2013, Thailand’s DNP will hold an event and awards ceremony for enforcement rangers at Pang Sida National Park in Thailand’s Eastern Forest Complex featuring a speech from Thailand’s Minister of Environment. Pang Sida has made headlines in recent months with growing concerns over the poaching of Siamese Rosewood, recently listed under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) APPENDIX II (meaning no international trade). In March, a Thai enforcement ranger was fatally wounded by rosewood poachers while on patrol. Events will include awards for outstanding rangers as well as a tribute for fallen rangers.
Freeland’s “Surviving Together” program aims to secure protection for wildlife and forests and has been working with Thailand’s enforcement rangers for many years. Since 2000, Surviving Together has worked closely with protected area managers and rangers as well as surrounding communities to achieve conservation goals. Program activities address the root causes of environmental degradation and obstacles to strengthen protection at the front lines of conservation. Surviving Together has improved front-line protection by providing training to rangers, providing equipment, wildlife monitoring systems and supporting local communities.
Note to editor
Freeland is an international organization dedicated to a world free of wildlife trafficking and human slavery. Freeland works throughout Asia, raising public awareness and building local capacity to protect critical ecosystems, wildlife and vulnerable people. Freeland is the lead implementing partner of ARREST (Asia’s Regional Response to Endangered Species Trafficking), a program sponsored by the United States Government in partnership with ASEAN and over 50 governmental and non-governmental organizations. For more info, visit www.freeland.org also; follow Freeland on twitter @FREELANDpeople or facebook.com/freelandfoundation