Did you know? June 23rd is World Female Ranger Day! Come on gang, let’s find out about these wonderful wildlife rangers…

What is a wildlife ranger?

Wildlife rangers work tirelessly to protect wildlife from extinction. In their native countries, these brave people do everything they can to keep endangered animals like elephants and rhinos safe.

Across the continent of Africa, rangers are kept busy day and night. Working in small teams, they prevent poaching, clear up harmful snares that could harm wildlife, and patrol enormous wild areas.

wildlife rangers walk through the savannah, heading downhill through some scrubland

Men’s work?

More often than not, wildlife rangers are men. In many countries, women are expected to work in the home (cooking, cleaning, fetching water, and providing for the family). Many women become wives and mothers at a young age, which means that they may not have enough time or freedom, to take part.

Plus, the hard and dangerous tasks of a wildlife ranger mean that the job is frequently seen as unsuitable for women. Ranger training can be a difficult and physically demanding process, which requires lots of skills that women are not traditionally trained in.

As a result, just 11% of wildlife rangers are women.

However, these women make up many successful female anti-poaching teams in many countries around the world, including at least 18 African countries.

a team of female wildlife rangers march forward in rows

So, let’s meet some of these incredible wildlife-defending women…

Nyaradzo Hoto

Nyaradzo is a 29-year-old ranger from the Akashinga Anti-Poaching Unit in Zimbabwe. She joined the unit in 2017, and studies Wildlife Ecology and Conservation at the Chinhoyi University of Technology alongside her job!

Before she became a ranger, Nyaradzo was forced to drop out of school and get married. Now, she earns her own money, and was able to purchase her own land and build a house – something many African women cannot afford to do on their own.

Sithabile Munenge

Sithabile is a Community Scout for the National Park Rescue in Zimbabwe. Once a tomato seller, she now protects wildlife and wild spaces within the important Chizarira National Park.

female wildlife rangers stand in a group. they are smiling and wearing khakis

Sithabile says: “Usually, men are the first preference to be employed by companies. But now I have the respect of my community, and I will be able to build my children’s future.”

All-female teams, like Sithabile’s, often succeed in ways that all-male teams do not. For example, they are better at easing local tensions, and often help to strengthen relationships within their communities.

a female wildlife ranger wearing khakis smiles down at a young child wearing a red hoody

As a result, both animals AND people benefit from working with the female wildlife rangers. Plus, the job helps women like Sithabile access education, healthcare, and property – things they may never have got otherwise.

Leitah Mkhabela

Leitah has an incredibly responsible job – she and her fellow rangers are working hard to create a danger-free zone for wildlife, that is safe from poachers and life-threatening snares.

a female wildlife ranger scans the night using a torch. it's night time, the bush behind her is dark, she's sitting in an open top jeep wearing khakis.

Leitah’s work with the Black Mamba Anti-Poaching Unit in South Africa has already saved the lives of many endangered animals.

She says: “when I started as a Black Mamba, people were scared of the training we went through. People said that this training is for men and we couldn’t do it because we are women. But people started to come around once the impact of the female rangers was clear. It has helped women in community to see themselves differently. People have seen how we want to do this and so many women started to support us.”

Hopefully, this means that there will be even more female wildlife rangers in the future! Yay!

female wildlife rangers sit together on the ground of the savannah, chatting and laughing

World Female Ranger Day

Many people don’t know about the hard work of these extraordinary rangers, so UK charity ‘How Many Elephants’ have created a new awareness day: World Female Ranger Day.

On June 23rd every year, people will celebrate female wildlife rangers all over the world. There are many more women out there just like Nyaradzo, Sithabile, and Leitah, who are working hard to make a difference – to the animals, wild places, and to their communities too!

The founder of ‘How Many Elephants’, adventurer Holly Budge, teamed up with colleague Margot Dempsey to create World Female Ranger Day. Holly got to know many female rangers during her campaigns to save African elephants from illegal poaching. As a result, she knows just how important it is to encourage more women to get involved.

She says: “We are looking forward to bringing together female rangers around the world to celebrate their incredible work, identify the challenges they face, and provide them with the support they need through our fundraising and awareness efforts.Amazing!

So hopefully, World Female Ranger Day will help support these wonderful wildlife rangers, and inspire even more women across the world to get involved. Brilliant!

If you loved this article, you can find out more on the World Female Ranger Day website. Check out their free teaching resources, here!

Thank you to Brent Stirton; How Many Elephants; International Anti-Poaching Foundation; Julia Gunther, and National Park Rescue for the images featured in this article. Thanks also to the World Female Ranger Day website for their excellent resources, including the quotes featured in this article.

Would you like to be a wildlife ranger? Let us know in the comments below!

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COMMENTS

  • Susanna

    I would really like to be a wildlife ranger.

  • Susanna

    I will most certainly take action!

  • bianca

  • Alice Silva

    when I grow up I will want to be a wildlife rager!

  • rainbowdevil25

    I love How we are including women! Please keep up the good work❤️ ✨Gender Equality!!!✨

  • FRUIT MONKEY

  • Roserabbitrhinoelephant

    Just fabulous! I love nature and really want to stop poaching, so I might be a female wildlife ranger when I grow up!

  • Josie

    Natural geographic is super good do you want to be best friends with me

  • National geographic is so good

  • Josie

  • Great

  • bodhi

    I love female soldiers

  • Cam rev

  • Ruby

    This is incredible. Thankyou for your hard work and dedication.

  • EvelynRoseH

  • eric

    I love the work you're doing! It makes me so happy

  • SkiGirlZoe23

    Wow so cool! It proves girls can do the the same as men can!!! I really love animals and nature so I really appreciate the work the girls do. :)

  • viola

    Wow I agree the stuff you are posting is brilliant I love it.

  • so cool

  • I love the work you're doing! It makes me so happy

  • Pavithra S

    I actually love animals and nature so i am realy apreciating this work

  • Florence

    AMAZING

  • Florence

    It’s great people are trying to stop poaching. I hope more and more lades get involved!

  • M Wheen

    The educational resources are fantastic!

  • earthgirl

    Equality is vital with humans and nature!

  • Great article

  • It’s great people are trying to stop poaching.

  • The books are good

  • h hayes

    Brilliant article. Well done for setting up such a great campaign, World Female Ranger Day

  • Anna

    Cool

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