No fewer than 137 park Rangers lost their lives to wildlife attacks among several unfortunate homicide related cases, across seven regions of the world in the last 12 months, the International Federation (IRF), said on Tuesday.
Its President, Chris Galliers, made the disclosure at the 2020 World Ranger Day, celebrated annually on July 31.
Galliers’ speech was read by Dr Ibrahim Goni, Conservator-General, National Park Service, during a Zoom meeting in Abuja to commemorate the World Rangers Day in Abuja.
He said that the figures accounted for the highest number of Rangers deaths since the inception of the Roll of Honour in 2011.
Galliers said of the seven IRF regions, Asia had the greatest number of rangers’ killed at 66 deaths, representing 48 per cent of all ranger deaths.
According to him, Africa has the second highest number of Rangers’ deaths of 40, making up 30 per cent.
“We know that this number could be considerably higher, as not all ranger deaths are reported or publicised.
“The number is still unacceptably high, with 1,013 recorded ranger deaths over the past decade.
“This is of major concern. We, as the ranger family, share in the loss of our colleagues and their families, and look to honour them on the World Ranger Day for all that they had contributed to the profession and conservation.”
He said the main cause of deaths on duty for rangers was homicide, which accounted for 43 deaths, adding that these deaths mostly occurred in Africa and Asia.
“In addition, the environment in which rangers work can be hostile and dangerous, threatened by the very animals that they serve to protect.
“Wildlife attack accounted for the second highest cause of rangers fatalities, with 24 deaths.
“Other causes include accidents- 33 deaths; drownings- 14 deaths and illness/natural causes- 23 deaths.”
The IRF president said the the federation, at the World Ranger Congress, at Nepal in November, 2019, set some ambitious actions to professionalise the sector and support those working on the frontline.
He said for the rangers around the world, the COVID-19 pandemic had created new challenges and threats.
Galliers said that for the most part, rangers had been classified as essential services, allowing them to continue their invaluable works.
According to him, rangers need the support of the world, and to achieve this, regardless of COVID-19, or not, there is a need for empowered and well supported rangers, operating in a more secured work place, who will become ambassadors for the profession to inspire the next generation.
“We hope that the world takes a greater appreciation of the value of protected and conserved areas and the people who protect them, and realise having a minimum of 30 per cent of the earth protected by 2030 is a real necessity.
“On behalf of IRF and the Board, we thank all those that are taking the time to voice their support for rangers. Thanks too must go to all that are running programmes to keep rangers operational and effective through this difficult time.
“Finally, a thank you to the ranger families for their support and the sacrifices that they live with continuously.”
Dunn, however, said it was commendable to note that ranger patrols by the Nigerian National Park Service had not once faltered during this turbulent period.
According to him, with the support from WCS, Rangers are a force for good in Nigeria.
Dunn: “Ranger teams in Yankari Game Reserve have not lost a single elephant to poaching since 2015.
“Dedicated ranger units in Cross River National Park have drastically reduced poaching of Cross River Gorillas, and there has been no record of Gorillas killed in Okwangwo since 2008.
“Only constant patrols by courageous rangers in Gashaka Gumti National Park has kept Nigeria’s largest wilderness area safe and secure, free from the scourge of Boko Haram.”
He, however, noted that Nigerian rangers needed automatic weapons, better training, improved remuneration and better working conditions.
Dunn added that the rangers also needed joint patrols with the army and improved recognition of the work they do to improve security for all Nigerians, not just for wildlife.
“Also, confidence that the poachers they risk their lives to arrest will be prosecuted according to the full force of the law, and would not be released to reoffend; zero tolerance for violence or threats of violence against rangers,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that some rangers from the various national parks across the country shared their experiences, and called for provision of more sophisticated equipment and support for effective service delivery.
Edited By: Kevin Okunzuwa/Olagoke Olatoye (NAN)
E! hosts skip Emmys red carpet after testing positive for COVID-19
The E! “Live From the Red Carpet” preshow for the Emmy Awards is missing a couple of key players this year.
During Sunday’s broadcast, Giuliana Rancic and Vivica A. Fox – who were expected to host a portion of E!’s 2020 red-carpet coverage – both announced that they tested positive for COVID-19 and therefore could not emcee the show as planned.
“As I go into my 20th year on the E! red carpet, I have to say I do not take missing an award show lightly.
“But unfortunately, this year is just so different. As part of E! and NBCUniversal’s very strict testing guidelines – especially before an event like this – I did find out that I tested positive for COVID-19.
“As much as I didn’t want to hear that, I’m very thankful I heard it before I traveled and possibly could have exposed other people. As far as my health, I’m doing well,” Rancic said via video chat.
Rancic added that her husband and son also tested positive for the respiratory illness and are “taking care of each other” in quarantine.
“I’m wishing you all the best,” she continued from home, adding: “Please protect yourselves and protect those around you. Take good care, and I’ll see you on the next red carpet.”
Later, E! hosts Brad Goreski and Nina Parker shared a statement from Fox explaining her own absence.
“I’m terribly sorry I cannot be with my E! family tonight,” the message read.
“Unfortunately I have tested positive for (COVID-19), so in an abundance of caution, I’ve isolated myself at home.
“During these unprecedented times, it’s more important than ever that we follow all safety and health rules and guidelines to protect ourselves and each other. … I look forward to seeing everyone again soon.”
Parker and Goreski – who were originally slated to host the E! “Countdown to the Red Carpet” from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Eastern before passing the baton to Rancic and Fox – simply extended their hosting duties to the “Live From the Red Carpet” telecast.
Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim
NCDC records 97 new COVID-19 infections, total cases now 57, 242
The NCDC disclosed this on its official twitter handle on Sunday .
It added that three persons died of COVID-19 complications while 138 patients, who recovered at various isolation centres across the country the same day, were discharged.
Based on the figures released, Lagos state recorded the highest number of infections with 46 new cases.
The data released also indicated that Kwara recorded 12 new infections, Rivers 11, and Adamawa 4.
Others were Niger – 4, Ogun – 4, Osun – 4, Ekiti – 3, Imo – 3, Kaduna – 3, Plateau – 2, and Federal Capital Territory (FCT) – 1.
“Till date, 57, 242 cases have been confirmed, 48, 569 cases have been discharged, and 1,098 deaths have been recorded in 36 states and the FCT,” the centre said.
Edited By: Kamal Tayo Oropo/Emmanuel Yashim
Golf: DeChambeau muscles his way to United States Open victory
A bulked-up Bryson DeChambeau bashed his way to a six-shot United States Open victory on Sunday, silencing any lingering questions as to whether his brawny game could translate to the major stage.
World number nine DeChambeau, who began the day two shots back of United States Open debutant Matthew Wolff, clinched his first major title with a mix of jaw-dropping drives and clutch putts.
He shot a virtually flawless three-under-par 67 to reach six under for the tournament at Winged Foot.
“On nine is when I first thought, ‘OK, this could be reality’,” DeChambeau, speaking during the trophy presentation, said of his mindset after an eagle at the par-five ninth.
“I made that eagle, long eagle putt and I shocked myself by making it, too, and I thought to myself, ‘I could do it’. And then immediately after, I said, ‘nope, you’ve got to focus on each and every hole’.”
Wolff (75), appearing in only his second major, was one shot back of DeChambeau at the turn but fell apart over a back nine that included two bogeys and a double-bogey.
A fearless DeChambeau, whose final round included the eagle, two birdies and a bogey, attacked at every chance.
For his efforts was the only player to break par in the final round as he cruised to a maiden major at his 16th attempt.
He attacked Winged Foot all week like few other golfers can.
So confident in his approach, DeChambeau unleashed his driver on practically every par-four and par-five hole as he figured the birdie chances would outweigh the risk that Winged Foot’s nasty rough creates.
DeChambeau grabbed the solo lead after five holes, hit a perfectly-paced 40-foot eagle putt at the ninth to maintain a one-shot cushion.
It was a tournament that came down to a two-horse race between him and Wolff as they made the turn.
The 21-year-old Wolff was bidding to become the first player to win the United States Open on his tournament debut since Francis Ouimet in 1913.
But he bogeyed the 10th and 14th holes, before a double-bogey at 16.
“I battled hard. Things just didn’t go my way,” said Wolff. “But first United States Open, second-place is something to be proud of and hold your head up high for.”
Former British Open champion Louis Oosthuizen (73) birdied the last to finish alone in third-place, a distant eight shots back of DeChambeau.
He was one shot clear of Harris English (73), who made a double-bogey at the first where he lost his tee shot.
Xander Schauffele (74) looked ready to make a back-nine charge after making the turn fresh off back-to-back birdies.
But the world number seven made five consecutive bogeys from the 13th and finished in fifth-place.
Northern Irishman Rory McIlroy (75), who finished in a share of eighth-place, was almost left in a state of disbelief at DeChambeau’s win.
This was given his inaccuracy off the tee at a tournament renowned for its thick rough.
“I don’t really know what to say because that’s just the complete opposite of what you think a United States Open champion does,” said McIlroy.
“Look, he’s found a way to do it. Whether that’s good or bad for the game, I don’t know.
“But it’s just – it’s not the way I saw this golf course being played or this tournament being played. It’s kind of hard to really wrap my head around it.”
Edited By: Olawale Alabi)
Buhari holds closed-door meeting with Ghanaian president at Aso Villa
President Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday night met behind closed doors with President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Bashir Ahmad, the President’s Personal Assistant on New Media, confirmed this on his Twitter handle.
The presidential aide, who could not elaborate on the agenda of the meeting between the two leaders, however, posted pictures in which the Nigerian leader could be seen escorting his guest after the meeting.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the closure of shops owned by Nigerian traders in Ghana had heightened tensions between the two countries, a situation which led the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama to summon Ghana’s Charge d Affaires to Nigeria, Ms Iva Denoo for discussions.
Onyeama had also met with representatives of Nigerian traders in Ghana, led by Jasper Emenike, the National President of Progressive Ambassadors of Nigeria (PAN), and the organisation’s National Director, Ruth Ango over the matter.
The Speaker, House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, had also visited Ghana on Sept. 2 with a view to seeing how the issues at stake could be resolved amicably.
According to the speaker, the closure of the Nigerian shops in Ghana contravenes the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) protocol on free movement of citizens of member states, and trade liberalisation scheme.
NAN reports that the ECOWAS Trade Liberalisation Scheme (ETLS) adopted in 1979 with an agreement on agricultural, artisanal handicrafts, and unprocessed products, and extended to industrial products in 1990, is the main framework for trade and market integration in ECOWAS as it addresses protocols on the free movement of goods, persons, and transportation.
The scheme’s main pursuit of consolidating the free trade area is guided by the National Approval Committee that informs the member states.
Similarly, Article (3) of the Revised Treaty of ECOWAS on trade and market integration stipulates the removal of trade barriers and harmonisation of trade policies for the establishment of a Free Trade Area, a Customs Union, a Common Market and an eventual culmination in to a Monetary and Economic Union in West Africa.
NAN further reports that the Ghanaian government had proposed a meeting between the two leaders prior to the one they held behind closed doors on Sunday.
Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim