Wildlife rangers hailed for conservation efforts

By Tichaona Kurewa

ZIMBABWE wildlife ranger teams this Saturday united for the 2022 Wildlife Ranger Challenge, a half marathon taking place around the world to raise money to support the men and women on the front line of Africa’s protected areas.

Among other objectives, the World Ranger Challenge day is set aside to highlight the significance of work done by rangers in conservation efforts.

Rangers who partook in the marathon said they were dedicated to preserving the wildlife for future generations.

“We will continue to work hard in protecting wildlife. We won’t tire. We are prepared to work under all circumstances be it rain, cold or extreme heat. We love our work, wildlife is our future. This run will also help us to remain healthy; as rangers it’s key because of the nature of our work,” said a ranger.

Conservation Ambassador, Ms Rumbidzai Takawira weighed in highlighting the importance of rangers.

“Wildlife is key for the development of various communities around national parks and beyond. So rangers are important to ensure that wildlife benefits Zimbabwe,” she said.

Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (Zimparks) Regional Manager for North West Matabeleland Region, Mr Samson Chibaya said the authority was grateful of the work being done by rangers.

“As a society, we are impressed that our rangers are doing all they can to protect Africa’s wildlife, despite the funding challenges created by COVID-19. This is all in the best interest of ensuring that we continue to secure the future for Africa’s wildlife. We need greater support as we not only build post pandemic, but develop and expand our impact,” said Chibaya.

Ranger teams, including those in private conservancies across the globe are commemorating the day through a 21km half marathon.

In Hwange National Park, the marathon started at 0530hrs on Saturday at Cross Mabale along the Bulawayo-Victoria Falls highway to the main camp.

Wildlife remains one of the major draw cards for tourists for destination Zimbabwe.