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ForRangers is a campaign that Pete Newland and Sam Taylor set up 5 years ago to raise awareness primarily for the struggles and hardship that rangers go through protecting our wildlife. We do this primarily by doing expeditions (which we fund ourselves) to demonstrate solidarity with and to provide a platform to tell the story of rangers in Africa. To give some context 1500 rangers have been killed in the line of duty in the last 15 years - more than British servicemen in both the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts.
So far we have raised 2.5 million dollars which go towards health and life insurance for rangers, orphan funds kit and equipment and general items to improve their welfare. We believe by investing in their welfare they feel invested in themselves, with their families looked after and better equipment to do their job, they will be safer , happier, more effective and ultimately less likely to help poaching syndicates out of desperation..
The expeditions play a valuable role in providing a platform to tell the story and raise awareness. So far we have Run the Marathon Des Sables, Climbed Everest, Manaslu, Aconcagua, cycled the length of the Yukon, paddled the length of the Yukon, ridden across Mongolia, run 250km in the Amazon jungle, run across Iceland, Across the Namibian desert, The ForRangers Ultra (our own event for the charity) , cycled from Joburg to Nairobi and next year Pete is planning to do the Arc to Arch, ( a giant triathlon from the Arc de Triumph to Marble arch after swimming the channel), and I will attempt a 700mile horse expedition self supported across Patagonia.
In terms of the current crisis, ForRangers is working collaboratively with Save the Rhino International (our parent charity) on several schemes through the APLRS to try and secure ranger salaries. (The APLRS is the private land rhino sanctuaries in kenya - which includes 7 properties supporting Rhino - Lewa, Borana, Ol Pejeta, Ol Jogi. Big Life, IlNgwesi and Sera, all key wildlife habitats and key elephant, lion and gravy zebra populations in Kenya).
The total revenue lost during this Covid-19 across these 7 properties is in excess of $4 million, of which we can attribute just over $3 million to “core” conservation funds (i.e. funds without which effective conservation cannot take place). Typically the ranger salaries across this landscape is about $2.8 million per annum - ForRangers main focus is to try and maintain all the rangers jobs so that conservation practice can take place at its most fundamental level, and the families of rangers can be taken care of. We expect an opportunistic surge in commercial poaching and a huge surge in bushmeat poaching as the effects of Covid-19 take its toll on a hungry population. Preventing rangers being furloughed and continuing to address their welfare will play a huge role in preventing this surge, and indeed, preventing a number of these conservancies going under ( a very real threat that we are facing in the next 12 months). I estimate without this, our conservation efforts in Kenya will be set back 30 years, with thousands of people involved in conservation forced into poverty.