Thank A Ranger: July 31
Today, July 31, is World Ranger Day. It’s a day to remember all men and woman around the world who put their lives on the line to protect elephants, rhinos, tigers, lions, and other animals large and small from poachers. This task is not for the faint of heart - it’s been estimated more than 1,000 rangers have been murdered by poachers in 35 different countries over the last decade.
Elephantopia is a partner with GRI (Game Rangers International) in Zambia. Zambia is a victim of the ivory and rhino horn trade - in the 1970s and 1980s, the rhino population in Zambia was annihilated and most of the elephants were wiped out. Efforts from organizations like GRI to reintroduce and conserve the big 5 wildlife are critical to restoring the country to full health and vitality. This reintroduction has a two-fold benefit: the first being the ecosystem as elephants are considered a keystone species and have direct impact on the vegetation and wildlife in their biosphere. The second being the economy, as tourists travel to Africa specifically to hear an elephant trumpet, to feel the roar of a lion, to see a baby rhino run after it’s mother…all experiences that are unlike anything else in the world.
But with poachers being financed by criminal syndicates from around the world, why do the rangers risk their lives for Africa’s wildlife? In the words of Mathias Kalounga a ranger in Zambia,
“I love keeping God’s creation,” he says. “I’m not afraid of anything. I have been shot at. We met some poachers and they started shooting and there was an exchange of fire. The poachers ran off and left their cooking equipment. I was not afraid at all.” *
Send a note of thanks below to these brave men and woman who are on the forefront of the ivory war.
Want to help save elephant orphans at the GRI Elephant Orphanage Project? Donate now and designate your donation to the Elephant Orphanage Project: Kavala today.