The rangers employed through World Land Trust's Keepers of the Wild programme are our eyes and hands in the field, working on the very front line of conservation to safeguard some of the world's most threatened species and the incredible habitats in which they are found.
Keepers of the Wild enable the ongoing protection of the high conservation value land that WLT helps to purchase. Without their invaluable presence, reserves are at risk from illegal activity such as poaching and logging.
Rangers act as integral links to local communities; building trust and raising awareness of pressing conservation issues.
On World Ranger Day, 31 July 2015, WLT launched a new appeal - Keepers of the Wild 2020 - to raise £750,000 to guarantee the programme between 2016 and 2020.
You can also donate by texting from your mobile phone. For example, if you’d like to donate £5, text KOTW14 £5 to 70070. The maximum donation by text at any one time is £10.
Since it was founded in 1989, WLT has had tremendous success in raising funds to save habitat. But our overseas project partners, in whom the ownership of the land is vested, have the task of protecting the reserves and the wildlife they contain. Protecting all this land puts a strain on our partner organisations. This project aims to help relieve this strain and help our partners to better protect vulnerable habitats.
When the programme was launched in 2011, WLT supported 10 conservation partners to employ rangers. The number of partners that have Keepers of the Wild has since increased and in 2015 WLT is funding 19 partners to employ 32 rangers in 15 countries.
Other Keepers of the Wild Projects:
To address the on-going need to increase protection for reserves and protected areas, the Trust is raising funds to support more reserve rangers.
Rangers are usually members of the local community and some were once hunters. This may seem a strange recruitment policy but, because of their knowledge of the project area, former hunters can make excellent wildlife guides and invariably turn into some of the best ambassadors for conservation within the local community.
The transition is a simple one: by earning a wage they become well-respected in their community and instead of hunting to feed their family, they are able to look after their families in a more sustainable and reliable way.
Ranger Dang Hieu
Ranger Quoc Hieu
Keepers of the Wild change from time to time, because the individuals change jobs, the WLT partners choose to rotate the designation Keeper of the Wild among a team of rangers, or because support for a Keeper of the Wild is no longer necessary.
Previous Keepers of the Wild include:
On average, £5,000 can support a ranger in the field for one whole year. This includes their salary, uniform and vital equipment such as binoculars and tools. From time to time WLT is able to get additional items sponsored, such as cameras and clothing for extremes in weather and inhospitable conditions. Donate to this Appeal »
For any individual or business who wishes to donate the full £5,000 we will identify a particular ranger for you to support. Donors will receive regular field reports from the sponsored ranger. Contact us directly to find out how you can help.
Rangers in the field provide the most obvious form of protection for habitat and biodiversity.
Their daily activities are likely to include:
- showing a presence on the reserve to deter would-be poachers of wildlife and plants
- checking reserves for signs of illegal activity
- liaising with other agencies-police and local government, for example - in concerted protection measures
- monitoring wildlife; setting camera-traps; recording tracks and signs
- assisting researchers with field surveys and data collection
- rescuing wildlife in difficulty
- ensuring boundaries are clearly marked to make others aware of protected areas
- putting up and repairing signs and fences, particularly stock fences
- making regular site visits and patrols (both night and day)
- keeping forest trails clear
- dealing with forest fires and storm damage
- taking tourists on guided walks through the reserves
- providing education for visitors and local communities, both formal and informal
- looking after tree nurseries and planting trees
Protected areas need on-going management and although owned by our partners, they are often still threatened by:
- Poaching and hunting
- Theft of rare plants
- Encroachment from neighbouring farms and developments
- Incursion from cattle and other farmed livestock
- (Occasionally) arson attacks and other forms of vandalism
WLT’s partners have praised the Keepers of the Wild programme:
“Declaring a reserve is the easy part of the creation of any protected area, the hard part is what begins just after that. Ensuring that land is really protected requires full time dedication. Keeping poachers and loggers out, preventing fires, checking on the health of the ecosystem and its species, allowing people to connect with nature, are just some of the duties behind real conservation, and they just couldn't happen without a dedicated staff of rangers. WLT’s Keepers of the Wild Programme ensures that all the fantastic protected areas that WLT has established around the world, count on rangers to carry real conservation, every day.” (Bibiana Sucre, Executive Director of Asociación Civil Provita in Venezuela)
“Keepers of the Wild is a wonderful programme, directly meeting the needs of key personnel within protected areas. It is a personalised programme supporting human resources, and rangers identify with the programme and feel a greater obligation to carry out their work in the best way possible.” (Germanico Barrios, Ecotourism and Marketing Manager of Fundación para el Ecodesarrollo y la Conservación in Guatemala)
“The programme provides crucial support for Fundación Jocotoco to continue with its conservation efforts and accomplish its mission to protect threatened bird species and their habitats. Like many NGOs, Jocotoco has limited operating resources, so the support of the Keepers of the Wild programme has enabled us to increase the number of rangers in key reserves, resulting in a better patrolling and protection capacity.
Keepers of the Wild rangers also collaborate to maintain good relations with communities and stakeholders around the reserves. The programme has also funded better equipment for rangers, which has facilitated the monitoring of species of flora and fauna, and important recordings of rare species. Moreover, being part of the Keepers of the Wild programme has become a motivation for our rangers, increasing their commitment to conservation.” (Carolina Arroyo, Director of Strategic Relations of Fundación Jocotoco in Ecuador)
“Thanks to the support of World Land Trust and Keepers of the Wild, the important work of the ranger Armando Manzaba is possible. His work includes the care and upkeep of a group of Great Green Macaws in the process of being habituated before being released back into the wild. Armando has also documented with his cell phone a new species of frog for the Cerro Blanco Protected Forest as well as the presence of a flock of six wild macaws.” (Eric Horstman, Executive Director of Fundación Pro-Bosque, Ecuador)
“The Keepers of the Wild are essential to maintain the wildlife areas that we protect with the support of World Land Trust in the private reserves of Sierra Gorda. They are our eyes and hands in the field, they maintain contact with the surrounding community, and their involvement and solidarity with biodiversity is ever growing.” (Roberto Pedraza Ruiz, Technical Officer of Grupo Ecológico Sierra Gorda. Mexico)
"When I think back to five years from now and compare what we have today thanks to the Keepers of the Wild programme, only then I see the achieved tangible outcome within such a short period which was not noticeable in our routine work. Keeping the nature wild and advocating for its preservation is FPWC’s main mission.
The young people hired from communities to work as FPWC rangers feel the importance of the work and now have the vision and the feeling that the lives of their families are secured due to long term job availability. However, this is not what makes them us dedicated to their work, it is realising the importance of our mission as nature guardians. Advocating for the protection of wilderness, we are securing the future of our communities and our children. We are now the chosen ones to protect the nature and the biodiversity of the communities we were born in.
Not only does the restless daily work makes them feel more responsible for our communities, but rangers working at the state reserve nearby are now much more alert, which is for the benefit of the nature we are working to secure and protect." (Manuk Manukyan, Keeper of the Wild and Coordinator of Conservation Projects for Foundation for the Preservation of Wildlife and Cultural Assets, Armenia)