Peak District rangers recently met colleagues from all over the world at a conference in America to learn about the dangers they face in looking after the world’s wild places.
A team of National Trust rangers, including countryside manager Ted Talbot, attended the International Rangers Federation World Congress in Colorado on July 29 to rub shoulders with fellow rangers from across America, Asia and Africa.
They heard how colleagues in other parts of the world face the daily dangers of bears, tigers and crocodiles, along with the threat of poachers and guerrilla groups.
Peak District representatives also handed over a collection of second hand radio equipment to other rangers to allow them to keep in touch and help avoid ambushes from guerillas or poachers.
Mr Talbot said: “The issues for all of us are climate change, loss of habitat and biodiversity, inspiring the next generation, managing visitors, and the conflict between humans and wildlife.”
Former Peak District ranger Gordon Miller helped to found the International Rangers Federation 24 years ago to support tens of thousands of his international colleagues and to recognise their work to protect the world’s 6, 600 national parks and nature reserves.
Mr Miller said: “You might get into arguments, but you very rarely experience violence in the Peak District. But when you talk to African or Latin American or South East Asian rangers, you hear that many of them are actually working in a conflict zone, usually to do with commercial poaching.”
The latest ‘Roll of Honour’ from the IRF lists 107 rangers known to have been killed in the line of duty over the last year, which includes park staff killed by bears, tigers and deer, rangers killed while firefighting in the USA and China, and more than 40 murdered by poachers, guerrilla groups and timber smugglers while trying to protect elephants, rhinos and ancient forests.
National Trust ranger Chris Lockyer said: “In this country, you’re never having as tough a day as you think you’re having. You might get stressed out when you’re putting in a bit of fencing on the moors, but in the grand scheme of things that’s nothing compared to the struggles people are having dealing with poachers.”