Celebrating conservation’s frontline heroes
The International Rangers Federation, set up in 1992, provides a forum for rangers, from around the world, to share their successes and failures in protecting the world’s heritage and to promote information and technology transfer.
Officials of the department of forests and parks services said that this formal membership is yet another milestone in Bhutan’s commitment towards ensuring that our flora and fauna are protected from vandalism, poaching, theft and exploitation.
“Everyday park rangers and frontline staff risk their lives to protect wildlife and habitats from poaching and other threats. Had it not been the perseverance of our rangers, iconic species like tigers, snow leopards and elephants would have long vanished from the wild,” said Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay at Bhutan’s first and biggest World Ranger Day Celebrations in the capital.
He also said that Rangers can be accredited as guardians of the country's security for their service in biological corridors, sanctuaries and parks; their efforts in times of fire; and the core of their service for nation building. "We thank you all for your service," He added and apologized for being late in acknowledging them for so long. "We are very late to thank you. I am sorry. You should have been thanked a very long time ago. But I promise you that from this year on we will not fail to thank you for your service," he said.
The Prime Minister also thanked the World Wildlife Fund-Bhutan for their efforts for the past 40 years and Bhutan Trust Fund for Environmental Conservation in their continued efforts in protecting and conserving the forests.
Officials of the department of forests and parks services who organised the celebration said that the day is a tribute to recognise the role that rangers (foresters) play in the conservation of Bhutan’s natural heritage and public service delivery. The Rangers day remembered and thanked 13 rangers who lost their life and 11 injured in line of duty.
“We must honour our rangers and foresters, who work tirelessly every single day, to protect the planet’s most beautiful and diverse species and amazing landscapes. They are the eyes and ears of our most precious heritage,” said Dechen Dorji, WWF Bhutan’s Country Representative. Dechen also said that joining the IRF would bring greater support, knowledge and training to the men and women who do vital work on the ground.
The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) facilitated the IRF membership. At the ranger day event, seven categories of certificates were awarded in recognition of the recipients' outstanding services and to encourage environmental stewardship. The day also saw the launch of Druk Rangers Magazine and Forest Information Resource Management System.