Thimphu, 31 July: World Ranger Day is observed annually by the International Ranger Federation’s (IRF) Member Associations, the Thin Green Line Foundation and by organisations and individuals who support and acknowledge the work of forestry rangers worldwide. The day also commemorates the forestry rangers killed or injured in the line of duty and celebrates the critical work rangers to protect our natural treasures.
The first World Ranger Day was observed in 2007 on the 15th anniversary of the founding of IRF. Founded in 1992, IRF is a non-profit organisation that helps to raise understanding and supports the crucial work that the world’s park rangers do in preserving natural and cultural heritage. The IRF aims to empower rangers by supporting their national or state organisations or assisting in the establishment of local ranger associations in countries where they do not currently exist. IRF is governed by an elected international executive committee elected every three years at the World Ranger Congress.
The first World Ranger Day in Bhutan was celebrated in July 2018 in Thimphu and this year also, the day was observed at Samarzingkha, Thimphu.
During the celebrations, The Ministry launched its numerous publications such as Druk Rangers Magazine, National Forest Inventory Report Vol. II, Tiger Action Plan 2018-2023, 50 years of Environmental Journey in Bhutan, Six Technical & Policy Briefs, Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment in Kurichu Watershed, A Field Guide of The Medicinal Plant of Bumthang, BTFEC Five Years Report and 11th FYP Terminal Report.
The tradition of celebrating the day marked another milestone in the Department of Forests and Park Services endeavour to encourage selfless service delivery by the frontline staff who make sacrifices to protect our natural environment.
The event is also aimed at recognition of women rangers from around the country. In Bhutan, forestry as a profession was traditionally mostly opted by males due to the nature of job and having to work under harsh conditions and in remote locations in the forest. The first batch of women in the forestry service was enrolled in 1996 at the two forestry institutions in Bhutan including at the then Bhutan Forestry Institute at Taba for certificate course and College of Natural Resources (CNR), the then Natural Resources Training Institute, Lobeysa with diploma certificate course. Apart from the above institutions, the Department also have women forester who have studied in Forestry College in India and abroad. However, gender participation in forestry profession is slowly changing with time and currently there are 204 technical women rangers serving with the Department.
The day ended successfully with planting of sapling by each by participant which was organised by Thimphu Forest Division.
Reported by Karma Loday with photo by Choidup Zangpo, ICTD
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