When the world speaks about conservation hero’s, they generally talk about the distinguished, highly educated and eloquent scientist. They talk about government’s abilities to proclaim and manage new protected areas, they talk about the people that have raised funds for conservation and they even talk about the poachers and the swathes of bloody mutilated corpses that they leave behind in the veld.
Yet it is the ranger that is at the front line of conservation. It is this ranger that has to endure the rough and dangerous conditions in the field protecting our conservation areas. It is the ranger that has to tackle the poachers and bear the consequences of these contacts. It is the ranger that puts his or her life on the line for conservation on a daily basis. Sadly, the world largely ignores these real conservation heroes’ – they are the unseen, unknown shadows that are the guardians of our protected areas and iconic species. It is this ranger that is the real face of conservation - and they need our support!
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.