Wildlife rangers lacking support - survey


Most of the rangers protecting Africa's national parks say they've been put in a life-threatening situation while on the job, and more than half feel under-equipped.

That's the result of a survey examining 570 rangers across 12 countries in the continent.

Poachers were involved in most of the threatening situations, which 82 percent of rangers say they've faced, either by threatening or attacking the rangers.

World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Africa director Fredrick Kumah says it's crucial the rangers are provided with sufficient tools and training if they're going to be able to beat poachers.

And the issue's just as bad with rangers in Asia, according to an earlier survey by WWF. Of Asian wildlife rangers, 74 percent felt they were under-equipped, compared to 59 percent of African rangers, and 63 percent say they've faced a life-threatening situation.

When it comes to training, nearly half of the rangers from each region felt they didn't have enough training to be able to do their jobs safely.

Six on-duty rangers have been killed in India and the Democratic Republic of Congo in the last two months, WWF says.

"Rangers are at the front lines when it comes to protecting wildlife from poachers and other illegal activity, often at great risk to their lives," says WWF's Nilanga Jayasinghe.

The work rangers do is crucial for the continued survival and protection of wildlife, she says, and it's important they have the resources and capacity to do their jobs.

Mr Kumah says when rangers aren't properly equipped it endangers everyone involved.

"Africa's rangers are doing an incredibly dangerous job with one hand tied behind their backs, putting their lives and the continent's wildlife at even greater risk."