The Covid-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc across many African countries, with wildlife conservation facing a continuing struggle without the revenue from tourism. Rangers on the front line have endured major cuts to resources while the scale of the areas they protect and the dangers they face remain no less severe.
At the same time, conservancies have seen notable increases in poaching for bushmeat as families struggle to put food on the table. As many years of conservation success face being pushed back, the need to keep supporting rangers and their communities is greater than ever.
Last weekend (Saturday 18th September), ranger teams from across Africa competed against one another in the Wildlife Ranger Challenge. The challenge saw them complete a 21km race across the tough terrains they patrol with 22kg of kit on their backs to raise money to bring their colleagues back into the field.
Over three weeks in the run-up to the race, teams took part in physical and mental mini-challenges in preparation for the big day, as well as to demonstrate what it takes to be a wildlife ranger. After weeks of preparation and training the final victors in joint first place were Tarangire Teams A and B from African People & Wildlife who completed the half marathon in 1 hour and 52 minutes. Click here for all results.
Alongside our ranger teams were nearly 1,000 runners and walkers from around the world pounding the pavement in solidarity. Our public participants undertook their own challenges of 5km, 10km or 21km to show their support for wildlife rangers. All funds raised by both our rangers and worldwide supporters, whether through sponsorship or donation, are being generously match funded by the Scheinberg Relief Fund.
Throughout the day, participants shared their experiences across social media and we shared their stories on our race day hub. The sense of camaraderie built across geographies even inspired a deluge of last minute-registrations to set their own challenge ahead of our fundraising deadline of 30th September.
If you’ve been inspired to do something #ForWildlifeRangers, visit our website to set your own challenge or donate.