Kruger National Park (KNP) Management and staff members held a ceremonial event in honour of the Ranger Corps, the living and those who were injured or passed on in their line of duty for the welfare of the Park, on 31 July 2017; as part of the World Ranger Day celebrations.
“Rangers are a key force in protecting the wildlife and fundamental to maintaining the integrity of this national park. The job of a Ranger, with its associated dangers needs men and women who keep focus out there in the bush; and very few people have the courage and necessary skills to perform this important task other than Rangers”, said the KNP Managing Executive, Glenn Phillips.
Activities included Rangers’ drill, a guard of honour, wreath laying ceremony, the recognition for one of the eldest living retired KNP Rangers – Lance Corporal Willie Nkuna and a key note address by the MEC: Community Safety, Security and Liaison – Mpumalanga Province, Mr. Petrus Ngomane who urged communities and conservation institutions to work together in order to eradicate environmental crime for the enhancement of the province.
“As Rangers, you are faced with a phenomenal task every time you put on that uniform and go out there to protect our country’s heritage. The four ranger regions depicted on this Ranger monument should serve as a constant reminder of posterity and I want to express our appreciation for your continuous service, dedication and commitment. Let me also take this opportunity to express our gratitude to all the spouses and families of all our Rangers; we appreciate the sacrifices that you all make on a daily basis”, echoed Phillips as he addressed the Rangers.
More celebrations are scheduled to take place on Thursday, 3 August wherein a Special Sports Day for the Rangers will take place. South African National Parks (SANParks) has 19 National Parks; and on daily basis, Rangers look after these parks by conducting duties such as daily patrols, looking out for snares, signs of poaching activity and report on other eventualities such as erosion, alien plants and the total integrity of our environment. Law enforcement and community relations are some of the efforts that also form part of the rangers’ duties.