Anti-poaching staff who are adequately trained, paid and looked after with decent housing, equipment and on-going mentoring will be motivated to succeed in their careers protecting wildlife. Using standardized training manuals helps improve staff skill levels; where possible countries should develop wildlife colleges and improve staff welfare. Countries that invest in their staff show a tangible investment in Zero Poaching.
The Training Guidelines for Field Rangers is the first of a series of guidelines to provide a standard for training field rangers.
The guidelines cover the basics of operations and the tactics required for them to successfully carry out anti-poaching operations in the field. The guidelines will help park managers, conservation organisations, government departments and other relevant people in designing the training curriculum for anti-poaching rangers as per their needs. By following these high standards, it will help ensure that anti-poaching training manuals may adequately introduce the concepts and specifics of law enforcement, tracking, teamwork, conservation, first aid and court procedures to the field ranger.
These guidelines are the result of a collaborative initiative from International Ranger Federation, Global Tiger Forum, PAMS Foundation, WWF, The Thin Green Line Foundation, United For Rangers (UFR), Southern African Wildlife College, International Anti-Poaching Foundation (IAPF), Conservation International, African Parks Network, TRAFFIC, Panthera, Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) and Global Wildlife Conservation (GWC).
Proper motivation is necessary to obtain high quality anti-poaching work from staff. This is especially understandable in a career where one’s wellbeing is often at risk. A number of factors should be addressed by policy makers in this area, including suitable wage, legal protections for use of force, ensuring adequate equipment and safety procedures (medical backup and support), providing health and family benefits, ensuring paths of career growth are available and rewarding results. A number of organizations, including International Ranger Federation, PAMS Foundation, Ranger Federation of Asia, and the IUCN/WCPA, are advocating to ‘professionalize’ rangers; that is, raising ranger’s profiles to match that of other sectors, such as the forestry or police. This also includes connecting field staff to their counterparts in other countries inside and outside Asia through regional and international ranger federations and associations.
The Southern African Wildlife College is one of the world’s most highly esteemed training institutes in this area. Since inception, the College has trained over 12,000 people from 46 countries in natural resource management and protection. Graduates are highly competent and motivated to manage and conserve protected areas and associated fauna and flora in a sustainable manner within stated conservation objectives and in cooperation with local communities.
The objective of these guidelines is to improve the effectiveness and safety of field ranger work when conducting anti-poaching patrols and associated activities. They have been compiled through extensive consultation with subject-matter experts and protected area managers and provide a benchmark of basic best practices and training required for conducting successful anti-poaching operations. Organizations such as WWF, WCS, WildTeam, TRAFFIC, International Anti Poaching Foundation, Game Rangers Association of Africa, International Ranger Federation, PAMS Foundation, Ranger Federation of Asia, Global Tiger Forum, Freeland Foundation and the Environment Protection Authority Australia have participated and can be contacted directly for additional training information.