An Asia-based survey released on World Wildlife Day shows that the men and women protecting the planet’s wildlife lack support from governments to enable them to do their do jobs safely.
The surveyed 530 rangers across 11 tiger range countries and found that 63 had faced a life-threatening situation, 74% of rangers felt they were ill-equipped and 48% felt they lacked adequate training. Surveys from other regions will be released in the coming months.
President of the Ranger Federation of Asia and WWF Enforcement Specialist, Rohit Singh said: “It’s a dangerous job and bravery is not enough. Poaching is at critical levels across Asia and these heroic men and women must have the necessary tools and training to do their job safely and successfully.”
The survey also found that many rangers have a poor work/life balance with 45% of rangers seeing their families for less than 5 days a month, while 30% of rangers ranked low or irregular pay as one of the worst aspects of their jobs.
Rangers are the first line of defence for the world’s endangered species, many of which are threatened by the unprecedented surge in wildlife crime. The current global poaching crisis is increasingly driven by international organized criminal networks, which increase the risk of violence and danger for rangers.
The aim of the survey is to provide a snapshot of ranger working conditions, and gain insight into the factors that affect the motivation of rangers. Similar surveys are underway across Africa and South America.
These will be followed by in-depth reports on working condition indicators (pay, hours worked, access to equipment, etc.) and a second, more detailed ranger perception survey incorporating in-depth interviews. It is hoped that this large data set will influence and improve government policy towards rangers and their working conditions.