Years of conservation efforts are about to be lost. Wildlife Rangers across Africa are facing drastic cuts in salaries and resources, leaving their families destitute and wildlife helpless against poachers. Wildlife Ranger teams are now uniting around the Wildlife Ranger Challenge, with one goal: to raise money for the Ranger Fund to get thousands of rangers back in the field and protect iconic African wildlife such as elephants, pangolins, rhinos, and lions.
The Wildlife Ranger Challenge is a global public fundraising and awareness campaign being coordinated by Tusk Trust and NATURAL STATE and overseen by an independent Steering Committee composed of conservation leaders from across Africa. The Challenge was launched on World Ranger Day (31 July) and ended with a 21km race on 3rd October 2020. Between the launch and the grand finale members of the public took part in a range of activities including both mental and physical challenges.
With the generous support of the Scheinberg Relief Fund, participants and partners have been able to protect 119 conservation areas, 4,243,769 km² of wild ecosystems and support the jobs and livelihoods of 9,473 rangers working on the frontline in 20 countries across Africa. By safe-guarding their jobs, an additional 64,024 family dependents and community members are benefitting — and the fundraising is not yet over. The $10 million raised so far has provided a lifeline for many protected areas, ranger teams as well as families. We feel we have been able to provide critical support to most of the high impact protected areas and these grants will help them make it through the devastating economic implications of COVID-19 for 2020 and for many early 2021.
Photo credit: Martin Buzora