Supporting Our Rangers Who Protect Our Rhino

PHOTO: The Rangers Monument which was unveiled outside of Kruger Gate in the Kruger National Park on World Ranger Day.

image002A single day is never enough to celebrate the commitment and dedication of those people who put their lives at risk to look after our children’s heritage.  In the ongoing fight to preserve our natural heritage, World Ranger Day is just such a day. This day is observed across the world on the 31st of July and it is a chance to celebrate the work of our rangers and also to remember those who have lost their lives in protecting our national parks.

This year the occasion was that much more special as a Rangers Monument was unveiled outside of Kruger Gate in the Kruger National Park. The imposing stone memorial, with a huge lead wood stump symbolising the rangers, was handed over to South African National Parks by the SANParks Honorary Rangers.

“It is our privilege to dedicate this monument to the men and women who look after our parks.  We want to assure them that they have the full support of the South African public and that we appreciate them and what they do,” said Louis Lemmer, National Chairperson of the SANParks Honorary Rangers.

This event was also the kick-off of Project Relax. The aim is to uplift the quality of life of the rangers and their families.  As a start the SANParks Honorary Rangers has donated R 150 000 worth of items to all the rangers posts throughout Kruger. The items include furniture, jungle gyms, board games and vegetable gardens.

The SANParks Honorary Rangers is a group of passionate volunteers who give freely and without reward of their time and skills to support conservation in the South African National Parks. They have started an initiative where they adopt ranger posts. This means that the Honorary Rangers will assist in upgrading the communal areas of these often isolated outposts, to enhance quality of live and show support for our rangers.

Unlike many fundraising initiatives the SANParks Honorary Rangers utilise 100% of all money raised for the purpose for which it is donated. No public money is used to run activities and every cent donated by the public for counter poaching or other projects is used to fund the actual project in our national parks.

Tomorrow, when our rangers face the challenges of a new day in the bush, they will do so with the full knowledge that there are people who appreciate and support them in what they do.

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