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‘Nigeria Lost 27 Park Rangers In 10 Years’ 

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There is an indication that Nigeria lost 27 Park Rangers, out of the 1,027 that died globally in the last ten years due to assault by park violators, according to the International Rangers Federation (IRF).

The president of IRF, Mr Sean Willmore disclosed this in Abuja during the World Rangers day celebration, in conjunction with the Thin Green Line Foundation (TTGLF).

The event which was organised by the National Park Service (NPS) is celebrated on 31st July annually by all the 54 member associations of the IRF, including the National Park Service even as the day was also set aside to commemorate the rangers killed or injured in the line of duty.

Willmore disclosed that there are over 100, 000 reserves, parks and other protected areas around the world, where rangers performed the daunting task of conserving and protecting the wild flora and fiona for the benefit of the present and future generations.

He noted that the event was also meant to celebrate the critical work rangers do to protect the world’s natural and cultural treasures across the globe.

Willmore who was represented by the permanent secretary, federal ministry of environment, Mrs Ibukun Odusote, lamented that rangers are under-equipped and underpaid, given that they work in remote areas where the media hardly captured their activities.

He hinted that in the course of discharging their duties, that rangers faced numerous challenges such as trekking long distances on rugged terrains under harsh weather conditions, attacks by wild animals, poachers, illegal miners and herders, which most times resulted to heavy injuries and loss of lives.

On his part, the Conservator General of National Park Service (NPS), Alhaji Ibrahim Goni asserted that the current staff strength of the Service is 2,081, which is far below the IUCN standard of Protected Area Manning (PAM).

The PAM standard specified that one ranger is expected to guard 10 square kilometre in Savannah and one per 5 square kilometers of the rainforest.

Goni emphasised that Nigeria has 2.5 square kilometers of its landmass designated as national parks in 7 areas, across 10 states of the federation, adding that the country’s bourgeoning population and competing land use patterns made biodiversity conservation more challenging.

He harped on the need for government at all levels, donor agencies, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and individuals to support National parks and conservation efforts.

According to him, “The world wouldn’t have been a better place, but for the critical and laudable work park rangers do across the planet, since they work tirelessly and risk their lives, while some had to pay the ultimate price to ensure that nation’s heritage is adequately protected and conserved for posterity”.

The CG appealed to Nigerians to recognise and support the good works of rangers in protecting the wildlife and wild places, thereby contributing immensely to the mitigation of climate change.

In his goodwill message, the director- general of National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA), Dr Rufus Egbegba assured that the agency would ensure sustainability of biodiversity including the national parks.

While drumming support for world rangers towards protecting wildlife, he vowed that NBMA would ensure that modern technology and its products do not have negative impact on humans.

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