1 For the third consecutive year, more than 100 ranger organizations from more than 20 African countries came together for the 21km half-marathon Wildlife Ranger Challenge on September 17, including an all-star team that participated in the African Ranger Congress in Kasane, Botswana.
3 In a world first, the event saw an elite team of four wildlife rangers from three African countries come together to complete the Challenge, in a display of pan-African camaraderie and teamwork.
4 Participating rangers in Kasane and across the continent completed the grueling Half Marathon Challenge while carrying 22kg (10kg for women’s teams), a weight equivalent to a fully packed check-in bag.
5 Competing for Africa’s protected areas, wildlife rangers have united around a common goal: to raise vital funds for frontline conservation efforts at a time when resources are scarcer than ever.
6 Previous years’ campaigns have raised a total of over £10m, which Tusk hopes to build on as the final fundraising results come in.
7 As guardians of the natural world, park rangers play a critical role in protecting natural, cultural and historical heritage.
9 Too often, however, rangers operate in poor and dangerous working conditions.
10 According to a WWF Global Survey of Ranger Working Conditions, the average ranger works nearly 90 hours a week, more than 60% of respondents do not have access to clean drinking water during patrols or at outpost stations , and nearly 40% reporting that they regularly do not have access to shelter while patrolling at night.
11 The lack of resources is compounded by extremely dangerous working conditions, with threats, violence, injuries and illnesses all too common.
12 Up to 70 percent of rangers surveyed by WWF have contracted malaria in a 12-month period, and more than 40 percent have received threats from community members.
13 Tragically, several rangers pay the highest price, as reflected in the Roll of Honor projected during the annual Tusk Conservation Awards.
14 The Wildlife Ranger Challenge seeks to increase support for the ranger workforce by raising vital funds, which will help expand access to essential equipment, enhanced training and protective measures.
15 The Challenge also seeks to be a catalyst for the development of the “ranger” profession by increasing recognition of the critical roles that rangers play.
16 Too often, wildlife rangers are deeply misunderstood.
17 However, the rangers who participated in the Wildlife Ranger Challenge half-marathon reflected the great diversity within the profession, with many holding widely diverse roles as conservationists, teachers, community support workers and leaders, contributing not only to protecting wildlife and support their immediate communities.
18 , but to the global Sustainable Development Goals of the UN.
19 This year’s race day coincided with the African Ranger Congress in Kasane, Botswana, where Tusk and its partners, the Game Rangers’ Association of Africa and NATURAL STATE, brought delegates together to participate in the challenge.
20 The All-Star team present in Kasane also attempted to set the fastest known time of 21 km while carrying 22 kg.
21 While this record was not set in 2022, the spirit of teamwork generated by the pan-African team made the Wildlife Ranger Challenge a major talking point at Africa’s largest professional ranger gathering.
22 Public participation in the event was widespread, with members of the public from around the world running in solidarity with rangers in their hometowns.
23 The race was also preceded by a series of mental and physical tests, with a new mini-challenge introduced this year for ranger teams with canine units, in which dogs and handlers demonstrated their tracking skills.
24 The Wildlife Ranger Challenge has real power to impact change.
25 With matching funding from the Scheinberg Relief Fund and the vital partnership of the Game Rangers’ Association of Africa, Tusk hopes to see this initiative by Africa, for Africa, transform and reach even greater heights.
26 Learn more and donate to the cause at www.wildliferangerchallenge.org George Kamasiai, Anti-Poaching Unit Team Commander, Lewa Wildlife Conservancy: “I was proud to be part of the all-star team representing the Wildlife Ranger Challenge.
27 wildlife at the African Ranger Congress.
28 My job as a ranger is complex and broad.
29 While it is often thought that we only work in the field, we know how important it is to engage local communities in conservation through development, education and advocacy.
30 I hope the team run on September 17 has helped highlight the critical work of my colleagues in Africa as they stand between wildlife and extinction.” Bear Grylls, adventurer and Tusk ambassador, says, “The times reached by The rangers in Africa were extraordinary, reflecting the exceptional caliber of people working on the front lines of Africa’s protected areas.
31 Despite facing enormous challenges, rangers continue to go above and beyond and could not be more deserving of our support.” Charlie Mayhew MBE, CEO of Tusk, says, “The Wildlife Ranger Challenge highlights the vital work of rangers by providing the opportunity to generate crucial funds for the men and women who work on the front lines of conservation.
32 The campaign has to date supported more than 9,000 rangers in 24 African countries, becoming a springboard from which the entire “ranger” profession can be recognized and developed.
33 Mark Scheinberg, Founder of the Scheinberg Relief Fund, says: “We are proud to support the Wildlife Ranger Challenge in its third year, a major event that highlights the incredible efforts of rangers in Africa and raises vital funds to support their livelihoods.
34 life, the conservation areas they live in and the iconic wildlife they work so hard to protect.
36 Without their daily dedication, wildlife in the region and across Africa would not survive.” The full results tables for the 2022 Wildlife Ranger Challenge can be found here (https://bit.ly/3S3GHVg).