Safety rangers deployed

SANParks rangers celebrated World Ranger Day on Wednesday, July 31

More than 100 tourism moni-
tors will be deployed to helpSANParkstackle some of the challenges it faces – safety in the national park being top priority.

Officials and rangers from Table Mountain gathered at Mouille Point on Wednesday July 31 to mark World Ranger Day when the announcement was made.

Also there were representatives of the South African Navy, the City’s Law Enforcement and CapeNature.

There was a moment of silence was observed for slain Ukrainian hiker, Ivan Ivanov who was stabbed to death on Chapman’s Peak during an armed robbery on Saturday July 27.

SANParks managing executive of parks, Property Mokoena, said they were deeply saddened and disappointed by the incident.

The rangers heard that their contribution was valued and appreciated.

Mr Mokoena, said challenges faced by rangers were no longer related only to animals but also criminals.

He said the rangers were in the trenches and were the eyes and the ears of SANParks.

He said over the past few years the Cape region had borne the brunt of poaching, muggings and the number of incidents which had resulted in deaths, placing a greater burden on the field rangers. He said these challenges had resulted in the work of the rangers being completely different from what they initially signed up to do.

“It is no secret that most rangers consider to do this work due to their love of nature, but circumstances that they are faced with, turn them into all-rounders and they are expected to perform paramedical duties as a result of criminal activities occurring in our national parks,” he said.

Mr Mokoena added that while most rangers were honest officers, some of them had become “conspirators for the illicit wildlife crimes”.

“This is an act that spits in the face of the hard-working rangers and makes a mockery of the sacrifices that many of you are continuing to make to protect our national heritage,” he said.

He urged the rangers to refuse the temptation brought by those with “evil minds” of taking national assets and using them for self-enrichment. Senior ranger at Kloof Nek, Xolani Manzini, said they focused on anti-poaching, environmental compliance and law enforcement.

“There are a lot of challenges on the mountain. We deal with rescues, fires, muggings and criminal activities, but I’m a nature conservationist and I’m passionate about my job,” he said.