Protected areas in Africa are seen like a store where people must be going to collect resource in scarce periods. This is one side of the vision while conservation institutions and organisation see that as a last shelter to protect wildlife species and enable environmental services for the benefit of the world. This being said, local people are aware of the legal prohibitions about park resources but they do want to get in for survival.For this reason, the mandated institutions have rangers trained and equipped to make sure that the area is surveyed.
Why rangers do they go for patrolling?
They do patrols to discourage and arrest illegal collectors of resources such as poachers who enter into the park to kill wildlife. For poachers, they don’t care about the status of animal (they don’t care about the number of individuals which are still alive in the world), settlers and invaders who are occupying different habitats that are suitable for wildlife. they do patrols to make sure that the conservation law is respected and have data collected to enable monitoring of the park status.
What do rangers find in the bush?
During patrols, rangers in the field they might find armed poachers, settlers, armed groups people, alive wildlife, etc. Once in the field, rangers meet with armed poachers and people and they have to exchange boo lets. Because of this, there are some rangers killed or injured on duty. We’ve got about 100 rangers killed in Virunga since the 90s (civil conflict in DRC). They also have to destroy some illegal camps and arrest owners and take them to court or get them back to their villages after awareness sessions.
What data do they collect?
Once in the field, rangers collect information about wildlife seen, their sightings and dropping; dead induces, poaching signs and ecosystem status. This information collected is compiled as reports and used for management purposes.
Does field data used for action?
Data collected and entered into computers, the report is sent out to managers and partners to make sure that they are aware of different threats in the protected area. The report states also some of recommendations to be meant by different authorities if they want the park to be protected. This has been used to convince local authorities to support conservation efforts, but also to determine which areas must be targeted as priority.
Pic4- Political awareness meeting in Goma