On 31 July each year we commemorate and celebrate rangers on World Ranger Day.
As you are all too aware, many rangers are killed or injured each year in the line of duty. On this day we pay tribute to these men and women. This year we know of 70 rangers from 19 countries who have lost their lives, and these are just the rangers we know about – there are many others who do not get reported.
Please take a moment on World Ranger Day to remember your colleagues.
This year we also celebrate the 20th anniversary of the International Ranger Federation. In 1992 in Loch Lomond, Scotland, the first IRF Accord was signed by 3 ranger associations. Today the world family of rangers has grown to 60 member associations in 46 countries.
In the past year we have welcomed new ranger associations from Chile, Croatia, and South Australia. Today we celebrate these new associations. Together with our more established associations, they can play a great role in improving the capacity of rangers in their countries and providing moral support to rangers around the globe. Just in the past week we learned that two rangers in Tanzania had their homes burned to the ground by poachers. While the rangers were not home, everything they owned was destroyed. Already ranger associations and individual rangers have pledged funds to assist in the rebuilding of those homes. It is a great boost to all the Tanzanian rangers to know that others from outside their country are concerned and willing to support them.
Many protected areas and ranger associations have special events this week to recognize rangers and the role they play in protecting the world’s natural and cultural treasures.
Today I will be participating in a public program in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado, which will focus on the role of cooperative “sister parks” between countries. We will also commemorate the rangers who have lost their lives this past year as they carried out their work in protected areas.
I look forward to reading your stories of World Ranger Day events.
Let us remember and let us celebrate together.
Deanne L. Adams