For Rangers: Grueling Ultimate Marathon Fundraiser for Those on the Front Line
For Rangers are a dedicated group of individuals who undertake ultra-endurance events across the globe to raise funds and awareness for rangers, who risk their lives daily to protect Africa’s endangered species.
Their latest challenge - a five-day ultra marathon across five conservancies in north Kenya - covering a total distance of 220km in blistering heat and harsh terrain.
The event, like all of their challenges, was undertaken to raise funds for improving rangers' welfare. This primarily includes equipment and training - both practical and morale-boosting - for men and women who work in extremely tough and often life-threatening environments.
In the North and Coastal region of Kenya, 35 community conservancies under the umbrella of the NRT have employed 748 community rangers and 69 rapid response team rangers, all of whom play a crucial role in protecting wildlife and people.
“Our rangers play a central role, that of not only protecting wildlife but also helping conserve diverse range of habitats, from mountains, dense forests and mighty rivers to deserts, savannahs, lakes, deltas and the Indian Ocean," says NRT CEO Tom Lalampaa. "Much needed support, which we are truly thankful to receive, from For Rangers is of essence.",
And the rangers' efforts are certainly bearing fruit. The proportion of elephant carcasses that had been illegally killed (known as the PIKE figure) in NRT conservancies in 2016 was 56%. By the end of 2017 this had dropped to 34%. There were just 8 elephants killed for their ivory in NRT conservancies in 2017 - the lowest number for 10 years.
To date, NRT member conservancy rangers have benefitted from US$18,070 from For Rangers, which has catered for solar power at camps, thermal imaging equipment, boots, uniforms, rucksacks and medical kits.
“It is dangerous and tough work, and if we are to keep rhino and elephant from extinction, there is a huge need to keep our men and women safe and motivated, both for their welfare and for the welfare of the iconic species they risk their lives to protect,” says Pete Newland from For Rangers.
The race was organised by Beyond The Ultimate, Save The Rhino International, and supported by Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, Borana, Ol Jogi, Loldaiga and Ol Pejeta Conservancies.