All of the conservation efforts to protect our rhinos from being poached is not just restricted to law enforcement interventions. Field rangers, that have received specialized training, regularly monitor each individual of a reserves rhino population and they therefore play a vital role in the rhino's protection.
These rhino monitors face the difficult task of locating each rhino on a regular basis and this is often through first finding the tracks that are then followed, sometimes for hours at a time. Once located, the condition of each rhino is then carefully checked and relevant data is collected. Frequently in the case of monitoring Black Rhinos, the ranger will need to rapidly scramble up into the nearest tree as the cantankerous rhino charges him. If this does not cause sufficient of an adrenaline rush, then there are also the regular encounters with lions, elephants and buffaloes. These dedicated rangers are at the frontline of rhino conservation and form an integral part of the overall protection of this iconic animal.
This project is carried out in partnership with the Game Rangers Association of Africa (GRAA) that provides support, networks and representation for game rangers across Africa. This conservation photography project will use rangers as the “lead characters” to highlight the issues faced by conservationists and showcase opportunities for improved support of rangers in the future. Positive and targeted messages will be communicated that emphasise the critical role that rangers play in African conservation in ensuring that the continent’s natural heritage is preserved for the benefit of future generations. Support Africa’s Rangers by supporting the GRAA.
Peter Chadwick is a Fellow of the International League of Conservation Photographers (iLCP) whose mission is to further environmental and cultural conservation through photography. The iLCP’s goal is to use the art of high-quality photography to encourage people to take action in support of tangible and meaningful conservation measures.
Visit African Conservation Photography for a full gallery of Ranger images.