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Remembering fallen rangers on World Ranger Day

150 rangers were killed in the line of duty during the past year

on July 30, 2022   duration

Arcilio Sepúlveda is a ranger in Chilean Patagonia working with Rewilding Chile. (Photo by Jan Vincent Kleine)
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The world’s rangers protect nearly 15% of the Earth’s land mass and seven percent of its oceans. They are critical to safeguarding the Earth’s biodiversity and are being asked to protect 30% of the planet in the next decade. Thirty years ago, the International Ranger Federation (IRF) was founded to support rangers and all that they do. IRF’s anniversary, July 31, has become World Ranger Day, a day observed around the world to honor rangers. 

“Rangers, in their efforts to secure natural areas, are required to undertake a diversity of tasks which equally requires a range of corresponding skill sets,” writes Chris Galliers, IRF president, in his statement marking the day. “This year we get to once again celebrate the exceptional, yet undervalued work of rangers under a theme of diversity. This theme includes every aspect of what makes a ranger, where they work and the spectrum of work they do. As a ranger one needs to embrace diversity.” 

The world’s rangers work in all types of biodiverse ecosystems, from deserts to tropical forests, and come from big cities, small towns and Indigenous communities. They protect wild places, wildlife and cultural heritage sites. In addition to serving as guardians of the wild, they are also guides, healthcare providers, teachers and scientific collaborators. 

As guardians of the wild, rangers are also often on the frontlines of responding to environmental emergencies such as wildfires and floods–and help protect humans, wildlife and the ecosystems they depend on. Their work can be dangerous, putting them in risky situations. The International Ranger Federation and The Thin Green Line Foundation releases a roll of honor every year, commemorating the rangers around the world who died in the line of duty.

During the past year, 150 rangers have died while performing their jobs. Below are their names and where they worked. 

A recent paper tallied the number of ranger deaths between 2006 and 2021. More than 1,500 rangers died in the line of duty, averaging about two deaths per week. And the most common causes of death for rangers are homicides, firefighting, drowning and animal attacks. 

Roll of Honor for World Ranger Day 2022.

“There is unfortunately a diversity of challenges that rangers face and many are proving to be fatal,” writes Galliers. “This year sees the second highest number of ranger deaths in a twelve-month period since recording started in 2006, with the homicides being responsible for the most number of deaths. As the greater IRF ranger family, we honour the 150 rangers for their valued service to the profession and also those that may have gone unrecorded. We, as the IRF, along with our partners such as The Thin Green Line Foundation and the members of Universal Ranger Support Alliance (URSA), know that there is so much to be done to increase support and improve the welfare and safety of rangers, as outlined in the Chitwan Declaration and the subsequent URSA Action Plan. However, it will only be through a united sector that we will be able to effect the needed change where rangers are recognised and treated as professionals globally.”

Ten ways to stand with the world's rangers on World Ranger Day 2022. (Graphic courtesy of International Ranger Federation)
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