Maintaining the integrity of protected area boundaries is absolutely critical in the war against poaching. These boundaries not only ensure that priority species are contained and protected within a conservation area, but they are also often where the first sign of a poaching incursion is detected.
On a recent visit to the Nambiti Private Game Reserve in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa, I joined the ranger team on an early morning motorbike patrol as they checked the condition of the reserve fence-line. While riding, these sharp-eyed field-rangers kept a careful lookout for breakages in the fence and checked for unusual spoor on the ground. Regular stops were made along the route to scan the surrounding veld for priority species that were then diligently recorded in patrol notebooks. In many reserves, these fence lines may be checked several times a day for signs of poachers entering illegally. This is part of a suite of tasking’s undertaken by the rangers to assist in the reduction of poaching incidents.
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.