Rangers ~ The Unsung Heroes Protecting Endangered Wildlife and their habitats

Let’s not forget the work of the brave men who have dedicated their lives to protecting the endangered wildlife like Mountain gorillas and their habitats, from poachers, traps, rebel remnants and the illegal charcoal dealers.

Training for the Challenges Ahead ~ Virunga Officers Prepared for Anything ~ Virunga.CD field Report.

The job of ranger or officer at Virunga National Park is unlike any ranger position anywhere. When the statistics reflect the highest death-rate among rangers of any national park in the world, you can be assured this job is not for the weak or untrained. When militia or poachers would happily kill you over a piece of land or animal, as a ranger or officer you better know what to do.

This is why the park has required that every officer complete a two-month officer-training course in leadership and principles of command, conducted at the northern headquarters of Mutsora at the base of the Rwenzori mountains.

“I’ve been an officer for 6 years, and this is the first time I have gone through this kind of intense professional officer training,” said Bertin Tumonakiese, coordinator for security operations at headquarters and assistant to the director.

In the last seven months, 67 officers have completed the training, which officially concluded on October 21st. It included courses in leadership, tactics, shooting, close combat, radio procedures, and intensive physical training – all for the purpose of making them better equipped to lead rangers in difficult challenges to protect the park when threatened with danger. Many exercises took place around Lake Edward where militia attacks and poaching are common. It was an intense time for the officers, and most came away with high-level skills to lead others.

“It was fantastic,” Bertin said. “I used to send out patrols, but didn’t really know how to instruct them in good strategies, but now I do. I learned the best way to respond when you are confronted by militia or poachers and how best to protect the group. I am more confident now.”

One Comment

  1. Marcia Douthwaite says:

    Congratulations to the rangers for completing their training and guarding the gorillas and park. It is an important and dangerous job and good wishes to all.

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