Rangers Patrolling in the Twilight Zone

Field Rangers patrolling at dusk_©PeterChadwick_AfricanConservationPhotographer

Twilight, for most is a time of absolute mystery and beauty that also heralds approaching darkness. In the bushveld, it is a time when the White-Browed Robin-Chat gives its most beautiful liquid call announcing the end of another day successfully survived. It is a time when nocturnal predators stretch and yawn in their daytime lairs and then start their prowling as the flights of bats crisscross the airways and the hoots of owls echo across the landscape. For the rangers on anti-poaching duties, twilight is however a time of extreme danger! It is a time when the “Good Lord Deliver Us” call of Fiery-Necked Nightjars holds special meaning to these conservation heroes.

Patrolling through the bush at dusk and into the night takes extremely special dedication and skills! Skills which are enhanced by the sharpest of senses and where sound and smell replace the primary sense of sight. The risk of walking into dangerous game increases as these animals become highly active and are difficult to detect. It is of course also the time when poachers move, raising the risk of armed conflict and the chance of injury for the rangers. Through support and specialized training, these dedicated conservationists at the frontline of the poaching war, can operate extremely effectively at night and through doing so, they are successfully protecting Africa’s iconic wildlife.

So, next time twilight falls, spare a thought for the rangers on patrol and also please consider supporting them through contacting the Game Rangers Association of Africa.

This conservation photography 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.