Field Rangers within Africa often find themselves in the middle of war zones and other challenging conditions, including pressure from the communities in which they live. During the training of Field Rangers, African Field Ranger Training Services (AFRTS) - a division of the Southern African Wildlife College – focuses on preparing and developing individuals that will be on the front line to both carry out the necessary functions of a Field Ranger and to deal with community influences that may be brought to bear.
When deploying trained Field Rangers back to their workplaces, they are often placed in close proximity to their homes and villages and have to deal with situations most of us would not care to confront! For example, they might walk in to a situation where they have to arrest friends, family or colleagues or be asked to take a bribe by providing information that will assist poaching syndicates.
The recent spate of Field Ranger arrests in the Kruger National Park has highlighted the need for AFRTS to prepare trainee Field Rangers to deal with these types of situations. Threats, intimidation and often bribes in various forms can derails the training a Field Ranger receives. As such additional efforts are being made to prepare Field Rangers in the event of these situations arising.
The response of these training interventions has been overwhelmingly positive and the opportunity to allow practicing Field Rangers to help mentor trainee Field Rangers has been capitalized on. During a recent training intervention 120 National Treasury's Job Fund learners, who are to be deployed back to their workplaces in Limpopo, the North Province and Kwazulu Natal where exposed to Kruger National Park Rangers who have proven their metal having shown high levels of commitment and honesty.
These courageous and committed men and women, many of whom are at the top of their law enforcement careers, made an incredible impression on the younger learners. With a proven track record of being incorruptible they helped convince these learners to remain true to their calling. Coupled with this is the spirit and teamwork being shown during training, which is very supportive for any Field Ranger who may be challenged to deviate from the “straight and narrow” path required for law enforcement.
The Southern African Wildlife College, together with its training partners, solutes these men and women and the many Rangers out in the field who are at the front line of protecting Africa’s natural resources often at great personal risk. As World Ranger Day approaches on 31 July 2016, we look forwarding to celebrating Field Rangers and the work that they do to protect Africa’s wildlife and the world’s natural and cultural treasures. In so doing we also commemorate the many Field Rangers who have lost their lives of have been injured in the line of duty. We, as a wildlife training institution, remain committed to carrying out our mandate to ensure that Field Rangers received the necessary training to prepare them for the challenges that lie ahead.
World Ranger Day is observed annually on the 31st of July, and is promoted by the 63 member associations of the International Ranger Federation(IRF)and by individuals who support the work of Rangers and the IRF.
Issued by: The Southern African Wildlife College - www.wildlifecollege.org.za
Contact: Ruben de Kock, African Field Ranger Training Services Division – firstname.lastname@example.org