Rangers in marine protected areas in Africa face tremendous challenges yet receive little support. While much focus has been placed on equipping, training and supporting terrestrial rangers in their fight against ivory and rhino poachers little is known of the challenges facing marine rangers. They require specialized swimming, boat and survival training and equipment to be able to operate in often unforgiving seas.
They tackle a wide range of poaching activities that includes dynamite fishing and the organized crime and gangster driven abalone poaching. In some areas they operate where pirates and extremist groups also occur. They protect vital habitats that provide sustainable resources for many impoverished coastal communities while also protecting key species such as the turtles, dugongs, whales and dolphins. They are also often the first responders where accidents at sea take place and are the ones who recover any bodies from drownings. As we have grown support for our terrestrial rangers, so too must we raise awareness and support for these marine conservation heroes!