Today is World Ranger Day. And we are taking this opportunity to honour and celebrate the hard-working and dedicated young people in the frontlines of nature protection.
Protected areas - parks, nature reserves, marine reserves - are strongholds of vital biodiversity. The protection of these special places often rests on the efforts of the men and women in the field: the rangers and wardens. On the occasion of World Rangers Day, we asked our wardens based on Cousin Island Special Reserve and at the Locally Empowered Area Protection (LEAP) Project site in Cap Ternay what they love about their work and why they do what they do. The below is a sampling of their responses.
Dailus Laurence, Chief Warden, Cousin Island. Winner of the African Ranger Award 2020.
For me being a ranger means that I am willing to devote my time and effort to the protection of wildlife and to contribute in helping damaged ecosystems to recover, and giving them a chance to thrive. Lately, it has not been easy to do our work due to the pandemic that has affected the ecotourism program on the island and the revenues from which conservation work is funded. But we are doing everything we can to keep the work on Cousin going.
Alex Souyana, Senior Warden, Cousin Island.
Being a warden has been quite interesting and challenging, both mentally and physically. It demands a lot of patience and willingness to learn, adapt, while educating yourself and others to preserve the wildlife we have. It has given me an opportunity to work and stay on a remote island with a variety of endemic and non-endemic wildlife both on land and in the sea. Conservation has become second nature to me and I carry it with me wherever I go.
Laurence Hoareau, Warden, Cousin Island.
Work for what you love every day and it will feel like a lifestyle rather than a job. That is my attitude as a ranger. It is a never-ending, ever-evolving experience. It's a job for the passionate. With a positive attitude anyone can be a nature champion. It is hard being a ranger sometimes - your reward often comes from self-satisfaction and the pride you take in your work because you love what you do. Nature is under enormous pressure and trying to make a difference has been challenging. Now with the pandemic we have double the work. As an individual my impact maybe small, but together we have the strength we need to conserve our world for a better tomorrow.
Christopher Rose, Warden, Cousin Island.
Being a ranger is a way to help fragile ecosystems and giving them a chance to flourish. Since I'm very young, I feel very lucky to have this chance of being a ranger on Cousin to help our environment maintain its natural beauty.
Yves Gonthier, Ranger, LEAP Project.
The reason I love to be a ranger is because I love to be on the ocean. It's something that inspires me every day. I want to see our underwater life become as beautifully preserved as the wildlife on land, especially all the beautiful fish and corals.
To all our rangers and all other rangers around the world we offer our most sincere thanks. Happy World Ranger Day!