Today is World Ranger Day, a highly significant day in the Chengeta Wildlife calendar. It's a day to stand with all the brave, dedicated rangers who protect our wildlife and local communities. Above we celebrate with a selection of courageous Chengeta-trained rangers.
It is also a day to remind us all of why Chengeta was established. Our primary aim remains the same: to provide rangers with the most advanced, relevant, effective and ethical knowledge, training and mentoring possible, to enable them to successfully protect the areas they are responsible for, and to do so in a way that will not only avoid conflict with the local communities but improve the lives of those people.
WORKING WITH COMMUNITIES IS KEY
This may seem horribly unrealistic to some, but there is method in our madness. Working with local communities and developing and adapting existing skills among the rangers, rather than focusing on equipment, technology and infrastructure, is the approach most likely to succeed in the long term. The local population became the eyes and ears of the rangers, who in turn support and assist the local communities.
COMMUNITY-BASED CONSERVATION WORKS
Whenever a situation arises where the future of wildlife is to be pitted against people, then invariably the wildlife loses. The fact that the people of a country come first is a universally established fact and trying to change this would be a complete waste of time. We must work within the system, there is no way round that but we can work intelligently. With these realities in mind Chengeta focuses on the development of a highly adapted “doctrine” that harmonizes community-based conservation with intelligence driven operations.
The effectiveness of this approach was made very clear in Mali in 2017. Against all odds and to the surprise of many, with our partners, Wild Foundation, we achieved the impossible. Zero elephants poached and no personnel killed in operations.
CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC POSES A DIFFERENT CHALLENGE
Whilst our mission in Mali continues in an escalating situation of violence and breakdown of rule of law, we have begun our work in another tragically devastated nation; Central African Republic. You could say CAR couldn’t be more different to Mali including dense rain forest versus Sahelian desert, forest elephants (the smallest) versus desert-adapted bush elephants (the largest) and dramatically different ethnic groups.
However, the basic principles always stay the same. We are developing and adapting our methodology based on the very particular challenges, goals and resources available locally, and providing the best specialist training and advice available to positively change the situation.
A SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT
It is a long road ahead, but a wonderful start has been made. I am very pleased to announce on World Ranger Day that the first class of new recruits in CAR has recently completed their basic paramilitary training. These rangers were all, for the very first time, all recruited from the local communities after tough physical and mental selection process. The video below shows the new rangers marching back to HQ after their exhausting training truly shows the pride that they, their instructors and the whole Chengeta team feels at their achievement.
YOUR SUPPORT IS AS CRUCIAL AS EVER
Our supporters, like you, are vital to help us continue the training of the rangers who in turn engage the local communities and protect wildlife. On World Ranger Day and beyond, we thank you for your ongoing support and encourage you to please donate to help the rangers carry out their important work for the communities and wildlife.
Rory Young & the Chengeta Wildlife Team
PS If you'd like to leave a message of support to our rangers, please visit our Facebook page heretoday and find the ‘World Ranger Day’ post. We will be collecting all messages and giving them directly to our ranger teams. It will be so motivating for them to hear they’re being supported from around the world, so please get involved!
Training, motivating, empowering rangers is at the heart of Chengeta's operations. On World Ranger Day 2018, we celebrate all our rangers including the first ranger recruits in the Central African Republic as they pass out of basic training.