By Colleen Hogg
Sponsor a Ranger with Education 4 life.
Anti poaching operations across East Africa are often funded extensively by international organisations, without which these efforts could not survive. They are sustained by a local taskforce of brave rangers, often-patrolling huge distances with little more than some water, food and basic equipment during long manoeuvres. Their commitment and perseverance is extraordinary, especially in light of the fact that many of these dedicated men and women live a humble existence. They are rich in hope and enthusiasm and the Enduimet WMA (Wildlife Management Area) rangers in West Kilimanjaro are true examples of this.
Photography4life.org supports the WMA anti-poaching activities in Enduimet, by accompanying the rangers, photographing and writing about their operations. These rangers are focussed and passionately protective of their wildlife, anchored in an understanding that their future stability and prosperity is linked to conservation.
I’ve grown to know and respect these rangers, whilst accompanying them on day and night operations. Sun baked days involving endless tracking, contrasted by dark, chilli nights of silent vigil. The fight against elephant and rhino poaching begins at grass roots and yet the stories of these men and women are predominantly lost in the bigger picture seen in global headlines. These rangers are the true ground force behind fighting against mass poaching in Africa. Every year millions of dollars are pumped into equipping anti poaching operations across Africa and understandably the sheer urgency, intensity and cost of these efforts consumes most of the funds.
Yet, specialised and targeted educational courses play a vital role in increasing anti-poaching rangers confidence, development and effectiveness. In the same breath it simultaneously saves lives as well as wildlife, and undoubtedly presents a far more promising and lasting future than becoming a poacher.
When I asked the rangers what they most wanted at this precise moment in their lives, they unanimously replied, ‘empowerment through further education,’ for both themselves and their children. Sponsoring a ranger to attend a specialised course is a life-changing event, accomplishing far more than just improving communication skills and increasing proficiency. Discovering hidden talent(s) within has a powerful trickle effect. It not only empowers, but also instils a whole new meaning and purpose to life. More....