Celebrating the unsung heroes of wildlife conservation in Zimbabwe
August 10, 2022
Every year on the 31st of July, World Ranger Day is celebrated across the globe to highlight the important work done by men and women who protect our heritage and biodiversity. This year, World Ranger Day in Zimbabwe was held at the National Parks and Wildlife Management Office Garden in Harare, bringing together the Government, various partners in wildlife management, and rangers from all over the country.
The day was marked by displays from rangers demonstrating the equipment used in the field for anti-poaching operations. To the sound of a laughing audience, popular comedian, Sabhuku Vharazipi, entertained the audience with an informative performance that illustrated the complex issue of human-wildlife conflict, and the role rangers play in wildlife conservation and safeguarding communities was brilliantly illustrated in a comic theatre.
The event was graced by Wildlife Ambassador and First Lady, Her Excellency Dr. Auxillia Mnangagwa, who was the Guest of Honour. After inspecting the ranger’s parade, the First Lady noted that “In discharging its conservation mandate, Zimbabwe relies heavily on the good work and dedication by the field rangers who are the backbone of conservation”.
Speaking at the same event, the Minister of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry, Honourable Mangaliso Ndlovu added “Our desire is to provide full protection of our God-given natural resources as well as enhance wildlife co-existence with communities and establish possible solutions to mitigate human-wildlife conflict”.
Rangers from Mbire and Hurungwe, two of the three districts covered by Zambezi Valley Biodiversity Project, attended the celebrations and expressed their joy of interacting with rangers from other parts of the country. Christopher from Mbire highlighted that sharing lessons and knowledge made work more interesting and effective. “It has been exciting to meet with other rangers here today, I would like to also meet friends from abroad and have events like this more often to learn from each other”.
Celebrating the work of rangers and spreading awareness on their importance is a crucial step towards ensuring sufficient resources are allocated towards the profession. Obey a ranger based in Hurungwe, summarised it well, “We need to educate the world on what we do, they need to know that we are here”.
Through the Zambezi Valley Biodiversity Project, UNDP and the Government are supporting rangers in the mid to lower Zambezi Valley with food rations, equipment, and mobility to enable them to effectively respond to human-wildlife conflicts and carry out anti-poaching activities. The rangers also receive trainings to keep them updated on wildlife management activities.
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