Why the world needs Keepers of the Wild
July 2011: With World Ranger Day this coming Sunday, never has there been a greater need for more Rangers protecting the world’s endangered places. The international conservation charity, World Land Trust (WLT), launched their Keepers of the Wild appeal in 2011, in a bid to raise urgent funds to put these much-needed Rangers in the field to protect threatened land and species.
To date, WLT has helped to save over 500,000 acres of land worldwide. The Trust has continued to grow with a loyal donor base of both corporates and individuals; it is clear that people connect to the method of purchasing and protecting endangered habitats and giving a lifeline to the wildlife that depend on them. However, as WLT channels critical funds to their conservation partner organisations around the world for land purchase, there is the growing need to ensure the protection of the reserves by putting more Rangers in the field. WLT’s partner organisation in Paraguay, for example, currently have just four Rangers and one 4×4 protecting a reserve equal to the size of East Anglia.
While only a few weeks ago, WLT’s Venezuelan partner organisation, Asociación Civil Provita who is based on Margarita Island off the north-eastern coast, was the subject of an armed robbery in which 16 Yellow-shouldered Parrot chicks were stolen. Provita’s research centre was broken into by five men, who fired warning shots and then stole the chicks. In Venezuela this species of parrot is Endangered (internationally Vulnerable) and Margarita Island is one of its last strongholds. Provita work tirelessly to protect this species in a country where poaching is a major threat to its continued survival.
Unfortunately, this is not an isolated incident and there is growing concern for the illegal collection of endangered species all over the world, particularly for the pet trade. WLT hope that their Keepers of the Wild appeal will alert more people to the urgent need for funds to sponsor the Rangers who are needed to help safeguard some of the world’s most precious habitats and the wide range of wildlife that depend on them.
Many Rangers now protecting reserves were once hunters themselves; in the majority of the countries where WLT works, hunting is one way of earning a living and providing food for the family. This is why giving local people a secure alternative income is essential and WLT Rangers have all become true defenders of the wild. As Abel Reséndiz, a WLT-funded Ranger, said: “Instead of making a living from damaging forests I’m in charge of protecting them. I now know it is better to protect the animals and forests – I’m convinced they are in trouble and they need our help”.
Full Press release: http://www.worldlandtrust.org/documents/why-the-world-needs-keepers-pr.pdf (34KB) (opens in new window)
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