The Importance of Rangers with Integrity

Angie Willemse

A recent National Geographic article shed light on an unfortunate situation in South Africa's Kruger National Park, where a formerly respected regional ranger was arrested after being caught illegally killing a rhino that he was supposed to protect. This betrayal of duty is symptomatic of a much larger, more insidious problem—that of corruption seeping into some ranger units, creating mistrust and putting the work of good rangers in jeopardy.

A young black rhino being reintroduced into Kenya's Lewa Wildlife Conservancy.

Suzi Eszterhas

Every year on July 31, World Ranger Day is meant to highlight the incredible work of the women and men around the world who risk their lives protecting endangered wildlife. While it is still important to draw attention to these remarkable protectors, we must also address the awful problem of some rangers who are in league with the wildlife criminals they pretend to oppose. This not only makes it much harder for upstanding rangers to achieve their mission, it also makes it easier for poachers to prey upon endangered species, like rhinos.

A ranger in the field monitoring a black rhino.

Peter Lindsey 

Fortunately, rangers who possess the integrity that called them to protect wildlife in the first place are vigilant when it comes to rooting out the traitors in their ranks. And the RRF is dedicated to supporting those rangers and organizations with integrity who share our goal of protecting rhinos and helping their populations recover. We owe a debt of gratitude to these responsible, selfless rangers who go out into the field every day for the sake of defending Earth's precious wildlife.

K9 Units are an integral part of ranger patrols.

Ol Pejeta Conservancy

Happy World Ranger Day!

Learn more about the extraordinary things that rangers do here or in the video below: