1000 wildlife rangers across the African continent ran 21km races for their fellow rangers to raise funds for much-needed equipment and safety gear.
Johannesburg, South Africa (13 October 2020) – On Saturday, October 3rd 2020, 1,000 rangers from conservation non-profit African Parks ran a cumulative distance of 21,000 km2, collectively over twice the length of the continent in a single day, as part of the Wildlife Ranger Challenge to unite for colleagues in the wake of COVID-19’s economic impact in Africa.
African Parks is a non-profit conservation organisation that takes on the complete responsibility for the rehabilitation and long-term management of national parks and protected areas in partnership with governments and local communities. African Parks manages 19 national parks and protected areas covering over 14.2 million hectares in 11 countries: Angola, Benin, Central African Republic, Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Republic of Congo, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Zimbabwe and Zambia.
The Wildlife Ranger Challenge is a collaborative fundraising initiative undertaken in partnership with Tusk and NATURAL STATE supported by the Scheinberg Relief Fund. It was initiated to support thousands of rangers across Africa’s protected areas who are enduring drastic cuts in resources and funding to their efforts to safeguard the continent’s vital ecosystems for people and wildlife.
Over the past nine months, national lock-downs and travel restrictions have resulted in significant economic deficits for many parts of Africa. Fortunately, parks under the management of African Parks have remained fully operational and retained all staff during this tumultuous period. To assist other rangers in need, 1,000 African Parks rangers united on October 3rd, after a month of training, to run 21kms – a cumulative 21,000 km across 17 national parks in 11 countries for the Wildlife Ranger Challenge. In a display of camaraderie and generosity, they ran through desert sandstone, beaches, through thick rainforest, open plains, and water-submerged trails.
Every dollar being raised until the end of October will go towards the creation of essential ranger kits. These will help to outfit 1,000 non-African Parks rangers with basic but critical gear, ranging from water filters to first aid kits and light packs – items needed to support their wellbeing and their efforts to protect these vital wild places.
Rangers are integral to effective protected area management. They help to create safe spaces where wildlife can return, schools can be built, jobs can be created, and where people can benefit from healthy ecosystems which anchor local and regional economies.