The important role Game Rangers play in Conservation
Today is a special day, Rangers Day 2018, to remember the important of Game Rangers and the role they play in Conservation. The role of a Game Ranger differs vastly from that of a field guide, from training to their day to day responsibilities. This makes the Game Ranger far more capable of filling his/her role in conservation to a whole different level. 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.
Starting with education, a Game Ranger can be qualified via various different methods, but the usual is a variety of courses endorsed by the Game Rangers Association of Africa (GRAA) through either the South African Wildlife College, Tshwane University of Technology and University of South Africa. Many Game Rangers hold Diplomas in Nature Conservation or have degrees majoring in the Natural Sciences.
Rangers work at the “coal face” of conservation. They are the foot soldiers of all conservation efforts. They work in protected areas across Africa and are tasked with, among other things, ensuring the territorial integrity of these wild places. They are the ‘boots on the ground’ in Africa’s protected areas.
It takes a unique type of individual to perform the tasks expected of a field ranger in what are often extreme conditions. Due to the physical nature of the job a high level of fitness and strength is required. It is also imperative that those seeking employment as field rangers have adequate security clearance as they will be involved in law enforcement and in some instances will be trained to carry firearms.
Basic training will be needed in order to develop the required skills to operate as a field ranger. Choosing a reputable training provider is critical. The GRAA can assist you in making this choice to ensure that your qualification is sought after in the market place.
We at Bushwise do not offer Game Ranger training, as we are endorsed by FGASA, not GRAA. So we only train field guides, however the skills you learn as a Field Guide are transferable and lend themselves well to the transition from Field Guide to Game Ranger. Many guides have gone from guiding to Reserve Management.
Blog by Vaughan Jessnitz